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Last Updated: 02/23/2018

 Article of Interest - Immunizations

State Posts Smallpox Inoculation Information
Gongwer News Service, January 3, 2003
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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.

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