Fifteen Los Angeles County Hospitals Refuse To Participate in Smallpox Vaccination Plan
As of yesterday, 15 of 83 eligible Los Angeles County hospitals said that they will not participate in the national smallpox vaccination plan, an increase from seven late last month, the Los Angeles Times reports. Nine hospitals have reported that only a small number of employees will participate in the smallpox vaccination plan, and 52 have not submitted lists of names of employees who will receive vaccinations; seven hospitals have not responded. The county had set a Monday deadline for hospitals to submit the lists of names of employees who will receive smallpox vaccinations, but county Department of Health Services officials said that they have extended the deadline because "so few" hospitals had submitted the lists, the Times reports (Ornstein/Bonilla, Los Angeles Times, 2/6). On Jan. 29, the county became the second nonmilitary location in the nation to begin vaccination of health care workers. At the time, Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county public health director, said that the county expected to vaccinate about 60 nurses, physicians and epidemiologists in the first week; the county has ordered 9,200 doses of the smallpox vaccine from the federal government (California Healthline, 1/30). Fielding said yesterday, however, "We had expected that it would go a little faster than it appears to be going." Some hospital officials said that few employees have volunteered for the vaccinations, and others said that they require more time to consider medical and liability risks. In addition, some health care labor unions in the state have recommended that members refuse vaccination until federal officials resolve several concerns with the national smallpox vaccination plan, such as compensation for injuries and deaths that result from the inoculations. The statewide smallpox vaccination plan will likely begin later this month (Ornstein/Bonilla, Los Angeles Times, 2/6).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.