Calling the vaccination of the general public dangerous and unethical, the Institute of Medicine is recommending that the smallpox-preparedness program change its focus from vaccinations to improving the way the nation responds to any general health threat. In making its recommendations to federal health officials, a committee of the IOM said that the threat of a smallpox attack is so low that it doesn't warrant inoculating civilians. If the vaccine is made available to the public, it should be done so only in carefully controlled settings such as clinical studies, the committee suggested. "Smallpox is just one of a multitude of actual and potential threats to the public's health," the report said. The committee also recommended a registry of healthcare workers who have been inoculated who can treat others in an emergency. About 480,000 military personnel and 38,000 emergency health workers have been vaccinated. -- by Tony Fong
IOM: Don't vaccinate public for smallpox
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