HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson said he formally submitted a recommendation to the White House for vaccinating 250,000 to 500,000 frontline healthcare workers against smallpox. A final policy decision is expected later this month. Thompson proposed considerably more vaccinations than the 10,000 to 20,000 recommended by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel in June. The vaccinations would be voluntary and offered to hospital and emergency response workers nationwide, including designated smallpox response teams in each state, an HHS spokesman said earlier this year. A small number of CDC employees already have been vaccinated. In rare cases, smallpox vaccinations can cause fatal side effects, particularly among recipients with depressed immune systems. Experts believe that one to two people will die for every million who get vaccinated. -- by Julie Piotrowski
HHS urges smallpox vaccination for up to 500,000
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