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  • Smallpox

     

    Smallpox is a severe infection caused by a virus: the Variola virus. Before the vaccine was discovered in 1796, smallpox infection was common throughout the world.

    Smallpox Response Plans

    State public health departments are working with local public health departments and hospitals to further develop their smallpox response plans, which include identifying hospital healthcare workers and public health first responders to serve on Smallpox Response Teams.

    • Phase I, "vaccinating the vaccinators," began January 31, 2003.
    • Phase II includes voluntary vaccination of police, fire and emergency medical responders. Pre-event vaccination of these Smallpox Response Teams will allow them to better protect the American public against a smallpox attack.

     

    On September 23, 2002, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a plan to all states and territories outlining emergency smallpox vaccination procedures in the event of a smallpox outbreak or bio-terrorism attack - Smallpox Response Plan and Guidelines. View exit disclaimer policy page for links to third-party websites.

    • This is a part of ongoing emergency planning activities and does not indicate that we are under increased threat of either a smallpox outbreak or attack.
    • The last smallpox case in the United States occurred in 1949.
    • The CDC is not recommending vaccinations for the general public and the vaccine is not available for voluntary immunizations at this time.

     

    Understandably, this has raised many questions about smallpox, the potential threat of a bio-terrorist smallpox attack and who should or shouldn't be vaccinated.

    We have no evidence that there is currently an increased risk of a smallpox outbreak or bio-terrorism attack; however, since the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States has vowed to become prepared for any possible future acts of terrorism, and these vaccinations are a part of that preparedness.

    To help answer your questions about smallpox and smallpox vaccinations, Jefferson County Public Health will maintain this webpage with links to the latest information and resources. Smallpox vaccinations are very different from other types of immunizations, and it's important that we all have clear information about those differences.

    We will update this page as new information becomes available.

     

    Last Updated: 4-23-2013