Smallpox Inoculation Information
Gongwer News Service, January 3, 2003
For more articles visit
Information on smallpox inoculations for health care workers
that includes a list of training facilitators and signup
sheets for training to deal with potential outbreaks, has been
posted on the Department of Community Health's Web site.
The state also conducted a closed-circuit broadcast on
training for health-care workers. Some 5,600 workers are
expected to be inoculated.
And local health officials are preparing to begin inoculations
of health care workers who have volunteered to care for anyone
infected with the disease in February.
Last month the state announced it had submitted its
pre-incident and post-incident vaccination plans to the
federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And the Web sites posted Friday include PowerPoint
presentations on information on vaccination programs will be
conducted, how information will be disseminated and how the
vaccine kits look and work.
One training coordinator in one of the Detroit-area sites that
will provide vaccinations said the February program will be
"very limited." Hospitals now are recruiting volunteers of
health care workers who would care for any smallpox victim-and
those include everyone from physicians to security personnel
who would oversee areas where patients-and individuals are
coming forward for the inoculations and the training.
Screening of volunteers to be sure they are suitable medical
candidates for the vaccine is also needed, as it would of the
general public if vaccinations are to occur on a pre-infection
basis. Individuals with certain non-life threatening diseases,
such as eczema, are not recommended for vaccination unless an
actual outbreak has occurred. Individuals who are
HIV-positive, had had organ transplants, have cancer and
pregnant women also are not recommended to get the vaccination
unless there is an outbreak.
Surprisingly, the general public has shown little interest in
the vaccine, this worker said, although if there was an
infection "I expect they would be banging down the doors of
the health department to get vaccinated."
Geralyn Lasher, spokesperson for the department, also said
there had been little interest shown by the general public in
the vaccination procedures.
Any infection of smallpox must be reported to the state, as is
any infection of a variety of infectious diseases, although
Ms. Lasher acknowledged the state sometimes has to remind
physicians to report about some diseases. It has been decades
since there was a case in Michigan or anywhere else in the
United States and smallpox is not even listed among the
infectious diseases the state reports on weekly.
However with the heightened interest in the medical community
in smallpox, Ms. Lasher said she expected a suspected case of
the disease would trigger an immediate report. The state then
has a procedure for informing local health officials and the
federal government, she said, as well as a procedure for
determining whether general vaccinations are needed in an
area, or if vaccinations can be limited to individuals a
person may have had contact with.