U.S. President Bush to Offer Smallpox Vaccine to All
December 12, 2002
President Bush will announce a program Friday to make the smallpox vaccine available to all Americans, beginning with the military and health workers who would be front-line defenders against a bioterror attack. The vaccine will be mandatory for about 500,000 military personnel and recommended for another half-million who work in hospital emergency rooms and on special smallpox response teams. The first shots for medical personnel are expected to begin in January, senior administration officials said Wednesday. The public will be offered the vaccine on a voluntary basis as soon as large stockpiles are licensed, probably early in 2004, though the government will not encourage people to get them. Federal health officials are preparing a massive public education campaign about both the disease and the vaccine. Certain people should not get the vaccine because they face particular risk of side effects, including cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, people with HIV, pregnant women and people with a history of eczema. People who live with others who have these conditions also should not be vaccinated, because the live virus used in the vaccine can sometimes escape the inoculation site and infect others.
12.12.02; Laura Meckler
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.