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
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.