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PENTAGON HAS SMALLPOX PLAN FOR TROOPS
By Robert Burns
AP Military Writer
AP/Dr. Fred Murphy
Thursday, November 7, 2002
WASHINGTON (AP) The Pentagon has readied a plan for vaccinating some U.S.
troops against smallpox and is awaiting White House approval before giving
the first shots, according to a senior defense official.
Amid heightened concerns about biological warfare, the Pentagon is pushing
to provide every available form of protection for troops who might be
exposed to germ weapons in Iraq or elsewhere. U.S. officials said this week
that they believe Iraq is among four nations that have unauthorized samples
of smallpox; the others are Russia, North Korea and France.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has not yet given the go-ahead to
implement the smallpox inoculation plan, according to the defense official
who discussed it on condition of anonymity. Rumsfeld met with President Bush
on Thursday morning and planned separate discussions with other members of
the president's national security team.
White House deputy press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush has not made a
decision. Another adviser said a decision does not appear imminent.
The Health and Human Services Department has set aside about 1 million doses
of smallpox vaccine for the military. Those doses are expected to be
provided from the 1.7 million that have been licensed by the Food and Drug
The federal government has tens of millions more doses on hand, but they
have not yet been licensed and would have to be administered as an
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops have received vaccines to protect them
against anthrax, and after a long pause in that inoculation program, the
pace of vaccinations was accelerated in September, officials said. It is
believed that Iraq has substantial amounts of anthrax that it could use
against invading U.S. troops.
Smallpox vaccinations for troops could begin as early as this month,
officials said, depending on the pace of coordination with the White House
and other government agencies.
First to receive it would be those the Pentagon calls ``first responders''
-- troops responsible for assisting in domestic disasters, such as a
bioweapons attack. They include medical specialists. Next to get it probably
would be troops in combat units designated to deploy first in a major
military crisis abroad, such as an invasion of Iraq.
As many as 500,000 troops might eventually be inoculated, according to
another senior defense official. Of the 1.4 million men and women in the
active-duty military, fewer than half have ever received the smallpox
vaccine, the official said.
For the civilian population, top federal health officials have recommended
making the vaccine available in stages, beginning with people who work in
hospital emergency rooms; then other health care workers and emergency
responders; and finally the general public.
The White House is still considering how quickly to move -- specifically,
whether to wait until the vaccine is licensed or to offer it more quickly.
Smallpox was declared eradicated from Earth in 1980, and routine
vaccinations in the United States ended in 1972. All stocks of the virus,
except those stored at official labs in Atlanta and Moscow, were supposed to
have been destroyed.
It is a powerful weapon: It kills 30 percent of its victims, is highly
contagious and has no known treatment [see below for potential treatments
But while the disease is frightening, so is the vaccine. It's made with a
live virus called vaccinia that can cause serious damage to people
vaccinated and those with whom they come into close contact. Health
officials estimate that about 15 out of every million people being
vaccinated will face life-threatening side effects, and one or two of those
15 will die.
PREVIOUS NHNE NEWS LIST ARTICLES:
FORCED VACCINES HAUNT GULF VETS (11/7/2002):
FEDS PUSHING TOXIC ANTHRAX DRUG? (10/30/2002):
GI GUINEA PIGS (10/30/2002):
AN EPIDEMIC OF AUTISM (10/19/2002):
VACCINATED PEOPLE CAN TRANSMIT VACCINIA VIRUS (10/17/2002):
ANCIENT & ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR BIOTERRORISM (10/12/2002):
PENTAGON PLANS SMALLPOX SHOTS FOR UP TO 500,000 (10/12/2002):
SMALLPOX VACCINE GUIDELINES READIED (9/23/2002):
SMALLPOX OUTBREAK: WHAT TO DO (8/20/2002):
DOUBTS OVER SMALLPOX VACCINES EMERGE (7/30/2002):
TWO ARTICLES: MMR VACCINATIONS CONNECTED TO AUTISM (8/10/2002):
CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR CRIMINAL PENALTIES AT VACCINE MERCURY HEARINGS
U.S. TO VACCINATE 500,000 WORKERS AGAINST SMALLPOX (7/7/2002):
LIVING WITHOUT VACCINATIONS (12/8/2001):
LEADING DOCTORS' GROUP OPPOSE MANDATORY VACCINATIONS (11/4/2001):
SMALLPOX VACCINATION 101:
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DR. CLASSEN'S VACCINE SITE:
VACCINE INFORMATION AND AWARENESS (VIA) WEB SITE:
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ANTHRAX VACCINE INFORMATION:
DR. TIM O'SHEA'S THEDOCTORWITHIN.COM:
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