The City of Lubbock's Bio-Terrorism Coordinator expects to vaccinate 500 first health responders for the next couple of weeks. It's phase one of the state's Bio-Terrorism Immunization Campaign.
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has shipped 600 doses of the Smallpox Vaccination to Lubbock. It's phase one of a three part plan to vaccinate the Lubbock region.
This first round of vaccinations will go to health responders, like Infectious Disease Investigators, public health officials, emergency room and intensive care doctors and nurses. "Only volunteers, first of all. Every person that will be vaccinated in phase one pre event are all volunteers. No coercion, no consequences, and each volunteer will be screened scrupulously," said Bio-Terrorism Coordinator Ken Condon.
Phase two includes EMS, police, and fire, and then phase three; the general public. Condon says that will begin in the summer of 2004.
But there are lingering questions about the vaccine. Like is it even safe? It's been reported that the Smallpox Vaccine can make people sick and even die in some cases. But nurse Rhonda Cartwright says she will take the chance to protect herself. "Because I would rather take the vaccine and know what I've been exposed to, rather than being exposed to the disease itself," said Cartwright.
If a Smallpox outbreak were to happen in Lubbock, Condon says the CDC has plenty of vaccinations to give to the entire Lubbock region.
If you've had a vaccination years ago, health experts say it's only good for 10 years.