Smallpox vaccinations are imminent for hospitals and their staff

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently approved a plan that calls for smallpox immunization of 510,000 health care workers. The plan suggests that all hospitals should designate a "smallpox care team" that should be immunized prior to any release of the virus. The committee recommends that the team include a minimum of 40 health care workers per hospital, with some hospitals vaccinating 100 or more, including emergency department physicians and nurses, infection control professionals, intensive care unit nurses, infectious disease consultants, radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, engineers, security, and housekeeping staff.

To help you prepare for sweeping procedural changes, American Health Consultants offers Imminent Smallpox Vaccinations in Hospitals: Consequences for You and Your Facility, a 90-minute audio conference Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 2-3:30 p.m., EST. This session is designed to help you and your staff answer serious questions and prepare your facility for the inevitable. How will being vaccinated affect you? How do you protect yourself, patients, and family? What are the logistics of implementing a smallpox care team? How do you deal with vulnerable populations? How do you minimize side effects?

This panel discussion will be led by William Schaffner, MD, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. A veteran, award-winning epidemiologist who has seen actual cases of smallpox and currently oversees a volunteer smallpox vaccine study at Vanderbilt, Schaffner began his distinguished medical career as a medical detective in the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. He also is a liaison member of ACIP. Schaffner and an expert panel of emergency and infection control professionals will help you prepare for this critical task.

The second speaker, Jane Siegel, MD, is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwest-ern Medical Center in Dallas. The author of several books on infection control issues, Siegel has emerged in recent years as a key CDC advisor. As a member of the CDC Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee, she is on a bioterrorism working group that reviewed the critical issues regarding smallpox vaccine. Showing a clear knowledge of the pros and cons of the various options, Siegel presented the working group’s research to ACIP.

The cost of the program is $299, which includes 1.5 hours of free CE, CME, and Critical Care credits. ACEP Category I credit approval for the conference is pending. You can educate your entire facility for one low fee. The facility fee also includes handout material, additional reading and references, as well as a compact disc recording of the program for continued reference and staff education. For more information, or to register, call customer service at (800) 688-2421. When ordering, please refer to the effort code: 65341.