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Q. Who would be vaccinated?
A. Smallpox response teams would include a team leader, a team physician, team nurses, public health personnel who would aid in quarantine and surveillance, and security/law enforcement personnel. Such teams also may include medical personnel who would assist in the evaluation of suspected smallpox cases. Smallpox referral hospitals would designate staff who would treat initial cases of smallpox.
Q. When will vaccinations begin?
A. At the earliest in Fall 2002.
Q. How much vaccine is available?
A. In addition to the limited current stockpile, at least 209 newly manufactured doses of smallpox vaccine will be available by the end of 2002 or early 2003. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that supplies of smallpox vaccine could be available at the site of an outbreak anywhere in the United States within 12 to 24 hours.
Q. What are the possible side effects of the vaccine?
A. Swelling and tenderness at the vaccination site and fever are common side effects. More severe side effects include severe skin reactions, spread of the vaccine virus to other parts of the body, or encephalitis. Vaccine immune globulin could be used to treat some severe effects.
Q. How is smallpox transmitted?
A. Smallpox is transmitted from an infected person once a rash appears. Transmission does not occur during the prodromal period that precedes the rash. Infection is transmitted by large droplet nuclei and only rarely has airborne transmission been documented. Epidemiologic studies have shown that smallpox has a lower rate of transmission than diseases such as measles, pertussis, and influenza.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Atlanta.