President Bush lays out plans for smallpox vaccination in the United States; 500,000 frontline military are to be vaccinated, along with one million health-care workers. The President himself is vaccinated and calls for voluntary vaccination of over 400,000 doctors, nurses, and emergency workers to begin in January 2003. The general public is to begin vaccination in 2004 or later. President Bush announces.

Israel expands vaccination to 40,000 individuals. Of the first 17,000 persons vaccinated, two had ill effects but recovered. 2003 Several health-care workers resist vaccination and other scientists favor a cautious approach to the government’s plan. At a U.S. Senate hearing, Louis Bell, Chief of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia, the country’s largest children’s hospital, states that his institution will not immunize the medical/hospital staff. Concerned about side effects of vaccination and spread of smallpox to immunosuppressed children (3, 49, 56) and other complications, James August, the health and safety director representing 350,000 health-care workers, asks for a delay in smallpox vaccinations. He warns that, “The worries of this group are: 1) health-care workers could suffer side effects; 2) could infect their own families or patients with vaccinia virus; 3) lack of workman’s compensation, hospitalization or insurance coverage; 4) higher rates today of side effects anticipated because of the considerable number of people in the population today on medication that suppresses the immune system or having immunosuppressive diseases.” Andrew Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union says, “President Bush and Congress have not done enough to protect and care for health-care workers, their families and patients who could be harmed by the vaccine.” He argues that workers who refuse vaccination should not be subject to repercussions at their job, and workers taking the vaccine should not lose income if they have to stay at home because of reactions to the vaccine.

The numbers of hospitals not cooperating are believed to be 100 or so. Vaccination of health-care workers, doctors, and nurses is voluntary and therefore spotty instead of uniform.