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Thread: Smallpox Vaccine!

  1. #1

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    Smallpox Vaccine!

    What are your thoughts about the Smallpox Vaccine and Bioterrorism?

    Do you think we, as a country, are prepared for Bioterrorism?

    Do you think our healthcare providers are sufficiently protected against Bioterrorism?

    Do you have any information that you can add to this subject?


  2. #2

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    I wonder whether terrorism types would use smallpox? If I were them, I wouldn't. I would not think that reintroducing a disease into the world that has been extinct would give you any good press anywhere, Muslim or Christian world. I understand from TV analysis on Osama Bin Laden's messages and such that terrorism hits are to be aimed at National monuments and disapproved of populations (Americans, Jews, and sympathizers of same). Smallpox can be started in one location, but it cannot be aimed. If I were a bioterrorist, I would be using chemical weapons or botulism or anthrax, because they are more self limiting.

    Now Saddam Hussein? Who knows what he will unleash if attacked. But that isn't bioterrorism. That's war.

    As to am I getting a smallpox vaccination? I am not.
    I understand that having a vaccination can be a problem if you are living with a person considered to be at risk, healthwise, and I am.

    If I had never gotten a smallpox vaccination as a child would I get one? My husband had not gotten a smallpox vaccination when he was a child. When he joined the Coast Guard in 1963, they made him get one. He was horribly sick for a week. I wonder how many adults have that kind of reaction, or if he was unusual?


  3. #3

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    You're definitely asking some good questions, mmandel. I think what you're asking is what a lot of people are asking when it comes to smallpox.

    The biggest question is, what is the actual risk that terrorists will unleash smallpox? The answer: No one knows for sure. What we do know is that for every one million people vaccinated against it, 1 or 2 people will die, and anywhere from 14-52 people per million would suffer serious side effects from the vaccination. :x When smallpox was still a serious threat, and 40-50 people PER HUNDRED would die if they contracted the disease, getting vaccinated was an easy choice, because the odds of dying without it were so much greater than the risk of dying from the vaccine. Now, because we don't know the odds of a terrorist outbreak, well, it really makes you think about the vaccine risk. (I'd be curious if Mathman has any opinion on these odds!)

    I was vaccinated as a child. Will I get it again? No. I don't feel the risk is worth it right now. If there is an outbreak, the US has up to 4 days to vaccinate every person suspected of coming into contact with a smallpox victim. This is called "ring vaccination" and has been shown to be very effective against a smallpox outbreak in the past. That's my reason as to why I won't be getting the vaccination. I think it's a good idea to have enough vaccine ready to go in case we need it, but I don't see an immediate need to use it for the whole population. I also think that the vaccinations have definitely raised doctor awareness of the disease and we are probably better protected because of that aspect as well.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has smallpox info on its website at I've found it to be helpful and perhaps you might as well.

  4. #4

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    I decided no. I had the smallpox vac when I was a kid. They put it on your leg then. I really hated having to pull my dress up in front of the Dr. Very embarrassing. I also remember when the blister broke at school and I had pus running down my leg. Anyway, I'm old and ready to go anyway so see no reason for all that stuff. No plastic or tape here beside what I already have. Don't want to live in that world anyway.

  5. #5

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    I had the smallpox vaccine as a child and had a violent reaction to it! I almost died. Also, people with eczema (which I have) should not get the smallpox vaccination. So there you go!! I guess there is no point in losing sleep over it. Let's hope the "mad scientists" out there have not been watching too many horror movies to think up plots like this.


  6. #6

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    Hi Manny,

    You have certainly asked the questions we've all been thinking about the past year or so. I think we do have to put some more thought and more action into dealing with them.

    Are we prepared? I am not sure that we CAN be totally prepared. I know we are not prepared for the magnitude possible in a bioterror attack by a well organized, highly motivated and well financed group. The question involves priorities for action and funding that I don't believe we are prepared to act on without another major attack.

    I think it was CBS that earlier this week focused on whether our military was prepared for bio attacks by Saddam in this war we seem to be gearing up for. The military won't answer those questions because then they would show just how unprepared they actually are. And those troops are in a situation that practically assumes their exposure to bio hazards.

    If the military isn't prepared to protect its own troops directly in peril from such an attack, then how much protection is available for the rest of us?????

    Are our medical and emergency forces prepared? I am sure they are doing the best they can under the circumstances, but just what are they to prepare for??? Can we even KNOW what kind of attack is coming? Can we even afford to prepare for just one - smallpox?

    Just this past week's high alert expenses for state and local and federal governments has put a big financial hurt. Cleveland's mayor asks the question, how are we going to pay for this? How many police are not going to be available because they are at the airport? What if the danger then turns out to have been at hospitals or senior centers or schools, etc.?

    I don't have the answers. Even the people who have been researching the subject and assessing the risks can't provide all the answers. Murphy's Law definitely applies here. Whatever can go wrong.....

    I remember having had 2 smallpox vacc. But one record shows I had 3. All before the end of them in 1972. Will I have another? Probably not, unless there is an actual outbreak. I am not the same as I was 30 or 40 years ago. No, I didn't have bad reactions. I had the "normal" sore arm and elevated temp, etc. I don't plan on seeking vaccination against something that is not an immediate possibility. I've had the pneumonia vacc and I get my yearly flu shot, because I have a number of health issues and the chances of getting either the flu or pneumonia are much higher than smallpox or the bubonic plague.

    Thanx for all who have already answered and those who will. I think it is important for us to think about and discuss these issues.

  7. #7

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    Bush promised 3.5 billion for equipment & training

    in cause of bio/chemical attacks right after 9/11. This money has never been sent to the states to train local response teams or provide them with equipment to protect them when treating and cleaning up such an attack!

    Also CBS news has reported that US soldiers are ill equipped and lack the necessary training. They have billions to waste on Star Wars program left over from Regan but can't get the soldiers decent biotainer suits? What a load of horse apples!

    <strong>Bio/Chem Attack Protection Questioned</strong>

    At this point I am not too worried about smallpox I am more worried about what the shot might do to me. Many hospitals are refusing it and I don't blame them. I am worried as my older sister is in the Navy and will be sent over to the gulf this summer and *has* to get the smallpox & anthrax shots {shudder}. I really wish she had not reenlisted. She will be in the only relative safety by being stationed on a ship, that is if she makes it through the battery of shots without coming down with gulf war syndrone.

  8. #8

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    What great answers to the questions that I posed. I still would like to hear more feedback and thoughts from others.

  9. #9

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    Re: Smallpox Vaccine!

    <em>Complete and total thread drift:</em>

    OMG! I love your "picture" of the skating judges! :lol:

    OK, I probably wouldn't get the vaccination. I had it as a child, with a couple of boosters. I figure that I still have some immunity, despite what they say. Besides, I'm of an age that my health isn't as great as it was when I got the original vaccine. Besides, you do have a window of opportunity to get the vaccine after exposure (four days, I think) with excellent results. And I don't think they'll unleash something that there is a "cure" for -- if you get my drift.

    Would I recommend it to someone that is in good health and never had it? Yes, absolutely. Other than the usual achiness and fever that follows most immunizations, the smallpox was no different. The only difference was caring for the "pox" afterward. I think that the current fright about the smallpox vaccine has been blown out of proportion, honestly. As with any medication, there is always a chance of side effects. And before taking it, you should discuss it with your physician. But millions and millions of us took it "back in the old days" and I can't recall one single horror story in my circle of family and friends. In fact, the only horror story I can recall about an immunization is related to a tetanus shot, which is considered "routine".

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