The Lubbock Health Department and the State Health Department continues to plan for a possible smallpox biological attack. By February, The Centers for Disease Control is requiring Texas to turn in a comprehensive plan to protect 20 million Texans.
For the first time in 35 years, smallpox vaccinations may need to be available to millions of Americans. The Federal Government is concerned terrorists may use the deadly disease in a biological attack.
Meanwhile, the Lubbock Health Department turned in part one of their plan Wednesday afternoon. It is called the smallpox Pre-Event plan. "The Pre-Event Plan is designed to vaccinate a certain number of health care workers," said Texas Health Department Regional Epidemiologist Barry Wilson.
City Health Department Director, Tommy Camden says they will request vaccinations for approximately 330 health response personnel in Lubbock. "It's just planning to ensure that in the event that a terrorist decides to disseminate smallpox into the U.S. we have some core planning groups pre-inoculated that can respond," said Camden.
In February, the Centers for Disease Control requires Texas to turn in a second plan. This plan explains where the public would go to be vaccinated. State health officials are picking out make-shift clinics for our 41 county region, information they didn't want to disclose at this moment for security purposes.
Here is how the vaccine would get here:
If smallpox shows up in Lubbock, the state contacts the C.D.C in Atlanta. Then, the C.D.C. would ship the vaccine to various health clinics for public distribution. "Smallpox is not something that's been in the forefront for years. Now, it is. So it's just one of those diseases that we need to have a plan if an outbreak or even one case should occur and we need to know how to deal with it," said Wilson.
President Bush has made vaccinations available to 500,000 military and 510,000 health care responders. The Texas Health Department expects to vaccinate around 55,000 health responders.
To learn more about Smallpox (click here).