Bush To Order Smallpox Vaccine for Military and Medical Workers, Sources Say
President Bush plans to order smallpox vaccinations for one million medical and military personnel, senior administration officials said last week, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. Although Bush has not officially announced the policy, sources expect the vaccine will be given to 500,000 military personnel and 500,000 emergency-response workers who would be the most likely to come into contact with the virus. The AP/Tribune reports that the vaccine could be administered "in phases," starting with the emergency workers. The shots would then be given to about 10 million more health care and law enforcement personnel, such as police and fire fighters. The vaccine might then be offered to the public, although officials are not expected to recommend it for those with "no particular risk of exposure," according to the AP/Tribune (Lindlaw, AP/Chicago Tribune, 11/28). These plans are a move away from those discussed in mid-November, when Bush appeared hesitant to vaccinate civilians (California Healthline, 11/15). One federal official said the administration will give states "flexibility" to decide who should receive the vaccine, according to the AP/Tribune. State governments must report smallpox vaccination emergency plans to HHS by Dec. 9 (AP/Tribune, 11/28). NPR's "All Things Considered" Wednesday reported on Bush's proposal to vaccinate health care workers for smallpox (Knox, "All Things Considered," NPR, 11/27). The full segment is available in RealPlayer Audio online. NPR's "Morning Edition" Thursday reported on vaccinating military personnel and civilian medical workers against smallpox (Gjelten, "Morning Edition," NPR, 11/28). The full segment is available in RealPlayer Audio online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.