Smallpox vaccinations begin with health workers getting shots first - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Smallpox vaccinations begin with health workers getting shots first

THE CUYAHOGA COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH HAS SET UP A HOTLINE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT SMALLPOX. THE TELEPHONE NUMBER IS (216) 443-7500.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Ohio Department of Health began its smallpox vaccination program on Tuesday, with public health workers and hospital response teams being protected in the event of a bioterrorist attack.

Citing security concerns, officials would not identify
participating hospitals. Department spokesman Bret Atkins has said doing that would make hospitals that didn't participate more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

When discussions of the White House vaccination plan began,
estimates on the number of health-care workers to be vaccinated in Ohio ranged from 5,000 to 13,000.

Many hospitals around the state decided against joining the
government program out of fear they could lose money if their employees have a reaction to the vaccine and miss work. Others worried that patients could be infected by vaccinated workers.

The vaccine carries rare but serious side effects. Two out of every 1 million people vaccinated will die, and 15 will face life-threatening complications. Newly vaccinated people also can infect those around them.

The second phase of the inoculation program will involve the voluntary vaccination of fire, police and emergency personnel.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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