State Officials Request 40,000 Doses of Smallpox Vaccine
Officials from the Department of Health Services yesterday requested 40,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine from the federal government as part of a state smallpox vaccination plan, the Ventura County Star reports (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 12/11). Under the plan, the state would vaccinate 34,000 health care workers at hospitals and 6,000 workers at state and local health departments (Office of the Governor release, 12/10). In the first phase of the plan, a "diverse group" of health care workers, such as physicians, nurses, housekeeping personnel, radiology technicians, ambulance drivers and epidemiologists, would receive the smallpox vaccine, the Star reports (Ventura County Star, 12/11). In the second phase, the state would vaccinate police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, hazardous materials workers and other "first responders" who would address a smallpox outbreak. The final phase could involve vaccinations for the general public, DHS Director Dr. Diana Bonta said (Office of the Governor release, 12/10). Under the plan, health care workers could decide not to receive the smallpox vaccine, the Sacramento Bee reports. Kevin Reilly, acting DHS deputy director, said that the state must wait until the Bush administration announces whether the national smallpox vaccination plan will limit vaccinations to 500,000 health care workers or will allow the general population to receive the vaccine before the vaccination plan can begin. The Bush administration will likely announce a plan in the next few days (Lau, Sacramento Bee, 12/11).
Los Angeles County officials yesterday requested 9,190 doses of the smallpox vaccine from the federal government as part of a separate smallpox vaccination plan, one week after they had announced plans to request 20,000 doses, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 12/11). Los Angeles is one of three metropolitan areas nationwide that developed a separate smallpox vaccination plan (Sacramento Bee, 12/11). Under the Los Angeles County plan, each hospital in the county would receive 100 doses of smallpox vaccine; the county had planned to distribute the vaccine based on hospital size. According to Dr. Laurene Mascola, chief of the county acute communicable diseases control unit, county officials decided to reduce the amount of requested doses after they discussed the issue with officials from other states. County officials decided to "expose as few people as possible" to the side effects of the smallpox vaccine, the Times reports. "Let's just vaccinate the minimal number of individuals to get the job done. The more people you vaccinate, the greater the risk of adverse reactions," Mascola said (Los Angeles Times, 12/11).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.