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Posted on: Monday, February 24, 2003
Health Care Workers Say NO to Smallpox Shot email to the editor
By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Despite recommendations from the highest authority in the land, many U.S. health-care workers are saying no to the smallpox vaccine. Health-care workers report being "worried" about the side effects associated with the vaccine and they are also reportedly unconvinced that the threat of bioterror justifies the risk.

How much does this really differ from government recommended guidelines to vaccinate children for diseases such as hepatitis B or chickenpox? A U.S. government body recommends that a vaccine be taken in order to protect individuals that may be exposed to a particular disease. Should parents be given the freedom to choose whether the potential benefits of a particular disease outweigh the risks involved in receiving vaccinations? In the past, many have labeled parents that have made such decisions, radicals and even religious zealots. Now we get to see another group of Americans stand up and say NO to vaccinations. Do they have a voice? Will they be allowed philosophical exemptions? There are many questions to be answered.

According to recent news articles, about only one percent of the 450,000 health-care workers intended to be vaccinated for smallpox during the federal inoculation program, agreed to receive the vaccine. Safety of the shot and compensation if an injury should occur are among the greatest concerns health-care workers have.

MSNBC: Many say no to smallpox shots
Wichita Eagle, KS: Hospitals refusing smallpox shots

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