Pentagon officials confirmed that two U.S. military personnel became seriously ill after receiving the smallpox vaccine but said the men now are in good condition, the Associated Press reported. After the report, the 1.5 million-member Service Employees International Union called for increased safeguards for civilians who will receive the vaccine, saying not all will have access to free screening for complicating conditions such as HIV and pregnancy and many won't be monitored for adverse effects. According to the AP, a 30-year-old soldier who received the vaccine is suffering from a potentially serious, vaccine-related skin condition. The second serviceman, 26, was admitted to an overseas hospital for encephalitis, but officials said they couldn't directly link his illness to the vaccine. Military and healthcare personnel are being vaccinated against smallpox as part of a federal program. However, many hospitals have decided not to participate in the plan because of concerns about safety, compensation and liability. During congressional hearings last week, Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) agreed to work together to establish safeguards for workers who are vaccinated, including compensation for harm. -- by Julie Piotrowski
Two servicemen sick after smallpox shots
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