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Michigan Submits Smallpox Preparedness Plans to CDC
December 9, 2002
Governor John Engler today announced that Michigan has submitted Smallpox Vaccination Plans to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The “pre-event” and “post-event” plans provide a blueprint for how the state will carry out smallpox vaccinations both as a preparedness effort and in the event of a confirmed case or cases of smallpox, and include strategies for both surveillance and containment--sometimes called ring vaccination--and for mass vaccinations. Michigan’s vaccination plans identify vaccine distribution methods, staffing and monitoring.
At this time there is no information that suggests an imminent smallpox threat. However, the White House may announce a decision to proceed with pre-event vaccination of public health response teams and smallpox health care teams throughout the country as a preparedness effort.
“The smallpox vaccination plans are an important component of Michigan’s efforts to be prepared for and quickly respond to the threat of bioterrorism,” said Engler. “In anticipation of the federal government announcing its plans to vaccinate key public health and medical personnel, we must move forward in our planning and continue to work with our local partners to ensure Michigan is well prepared in the event of a smallpox emergency.”
The federal government has announced no plans to inoculate the general public or health care professionals at this time. Planning for smallpox pre-event vaccinations has been an important component in the nation’s preparedness efforts.
Smallpox planning is part of the state’s overall homeland security efforts. The Department of Community Health Office of Public Health Preparedness has worked closely with the Michigan State Police, local health departments and health care providers to ensure the state’s safety.
If called for by the White House, the first group of individuals considered for voluntary pre-event smallpox vaccination would include the vaccinators themselves, public health response teams to be mobilized in the case of smallpox reintroduction and health care response teams at designated hospitals. These vaccinations will include approximately 5,000-7,000 people in Michigan. After these initial vaccinations are successfully completed, smallpox vaccine may be offered to the other health workers, emergency responders, police and fire fighters in Michigan, approximately several hundred thousand individuals.
“Although smallpox vaccine is effective if given within days of exposure, it will be important that key public health and medical personnel be pre-vaccinated so that they can respond quickly in the event of an outbreak,” said Michigan Department of Community Health Director, James K. Haveman, Jr.
“We continue to work closely with the Department of Community Health,” said Michigan State Police Director Colonel Stephen D. Madden. “It's vital that first responders be provided with all appropriate personal protective measures if we are going to be effective in delivering public safety services.”
Michigan’s smallpox preparedness efforts involve a number of health care teams across the state. The state has been divided into eight regions, and each region will have at least one public health response team and two health care teams, for a total of approximately 30 health care teams across the state. Should there be an actual case of smallpox identified, these teams will be ready and in place to vaccinate and follow-up with persons exposed and care for those with smallpox.
“I would like to commend Michigan’s local health departments, hospitals and medical control authorities throughout the state for their cooperation in developing and standing ready to implement our smallpox preparedness efforts,” said Michigan Department of Community Health Chief Medical Executive David R. Johnson, M.D. “They continue to play critically important roles in our efforts to protect the citizens of Michigan from the threat of bioterrorism.”
Although the majority of patients with actual smallpox disease recover, death may occur in approximately 30% of cases. Many smallpox survivors suffer permanent scarring over large areas of their bodies, including their faces. Some are left blind.
“The smallpox vaccine is very effective at preventing disease, however, it does have some significant risks. Out of every one million people vaccinated, one or two may die as a result of life-threatening reactions to the vaccine,” said Dr. Johnson. “In the absence of actual smallpox disease, careful screening of potential vaccine recipients is essential to ensure that those at increased risk for adverse reactions do not receive the vaccine. If we have smallpox disease, all persons exposed and potentially exposed should be vaccinated.”
Individuals who should NOT be vaccinated as a pre-event measure include people with the following conditions AND those who live with someone who has such a condition:
Individuals who should not receive the smallpox vaccine also include:
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