President Bush said healthcare workers will be asked to volunteer to receive the smallpox vaccine and that the federal government does not yet recommend vaccination for the general public. He did not specify a timeframe for beginning inoculations. Under a plan announced today, HHS will work with state and local governments to establish Smallpox Response Teams that will coordinate immunizations in the case of a terrorist attack involving smallpox. "Our government has no information that a biological attack is imminent, and there are significant side effects and risks associated with the vaccine," the White House said in a written statement. The Federation of American Hospitals issued a statement supporting the plan and said that including hospital workers in the first wave of vaccinations is important to ensure healthcare services are available during an outbreak. -- by Jeff Tieman
Smallpox plan unveiled; vaccination voluntary
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