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CDC Votes for Limited Smallpox Vaccinations

Aired June 20, 2002 - 15:08   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Smallpox, who should be vaccinated for it? Well apparently just moments ago, the Centers for Disease Control had a vote on that. They've made a decision. Our Rhonda Rowland is on the case and she joins us now.

Hi there, Rhonda. All right, well we don't have Rhonda Rowland. Apparently, though, I am learning from Rhonda Rowland, at least our information comes from her, that the CDC has made a decision that not everyone should be vaccinated for smallpox. Instead just a very specific group. Rhonda Rowland is with us now. Rhonda, I'll let you fill in the blanks.

RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, well I heard you start it off there. You and I will not be getting vaccinated against smallpox. That is in the United States, we will not, I repeat, we will not resume routine immunizations against smallpox because researchers say the vaccine is too risky for everyone.

However, there are two groups who will be vaccinated. These are designated smallpox response teams and every state will have at least one, if not more. In addition to that, people working at predesignated facilities or hospitals who would be on the front lines to treat potential cases would also get vaccinated. So, we are talking about people ranging from doctors, disease detectives, nurses, people who would vaccinate people, all the way down to security, and possibly housekeeping staffs, at some hospitals, would get vaccinated.

So a total of 10,000 to 15,000 people -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, so these are the first response people, those are the folks that we're talking about when responding to ...

ROWLAND: That's right.

WHITFIELD: ... emergency situations.

ROWLAND: They are the ones who would indeed get vaccinated and for other people out there who would like to get vaccinated but can't, here's just a reassuring note that just say, in the unlikely event that there was an outbreak with smallpox and you thought you were exposed, you would have three to five days to go ahead and get vaccinated. So if there was, indeed, an outbreak, and the chances of that are very low, vaccines would get to the people very quickly and would be made available in that situation.

WHITFIELD: All right Rhonda Rowland, thank you very much for that update from the CDC here in Atlanta. We want to go back now to Miles O'Brien with "TALKBACK LIVE."

O'BRIEN: All right Fredricka. We are going to continue our discussion here on "TALKBACK LIVE." We're going to talk about the larger issue of terrorism, the 4th of July, perhaps the purchase of ambulances, as a tool of terror, but first, let's take a break, and we'll find out more about what kinds of danger we should be worried about after some commercial messages.

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