The state health department has its plans for smallpox vaccinations and has set its priorities. The department is waiting for the go-ahead from President Bush, authorizing the first innoculations against a disease that was considered eradicated 30 years ago. Smallpox is not a naturally-occurring disease. If somebody comes down with it, it’s an intentional act that has led to their infection.The state health department’s Pam Walker says general mass innoculations might be some time off. But as soon as the president says “go,” some people will be innoculated right away. The vaccine is available and could be used in emergencies, but the non-emergency general public vaccinations will wait until after the FDA has finished all of its testing. Walker says the important thing is to make sure those who will treat potential victims are protected. She says a person can be completely protected if they’re innocculated within four days of exposure and maybe for a few more days than that.
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