|March 27, 2003
SMALLPOX CLINICS TEMPORARILY PUT ON HOLD
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health announced today that it has put its smallpox clinics on hold until it receives more definitive guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding possible cardiac complications associated with smallpox vaccinations.
The CDC has announced that it is investigating whether there is any association between smallpox vaccinations and reports of heart problems in seven health care workers who have been vaccinated elsewhere in the country. The CDC is recommending that persons with known cardiac disease be temporarily deferred from receiving smallpox vaccinations and has given interim guidelines to the states regarding this issue. The agency has indicated it will provide additional guidance next week.
The Department's top priority is the safety of those individuals who volunteer to be vaccinated. It is essential that prospective volunteers have accurate and complete information about the smallpox vaccine so they can make an informed decision. Until more is known about the possible connection between cardiac disease and the smallpox vaccine, the Department believes it is appropriate to temporarily hold off its smallpox clinics.
Individuals volunteering for smallpox vaccination go through a detailed screening and education process before getting the vaccine. Each volunteer is given an information packet at least five days prior to vaccination and receives another packet as well as views an 11-minute smallpox vaccine educational video just prior to vaccination.
Once more definitive information is received by the CDC, the Department plans to reschedule those volunteers who were to receive smallpox vaccinations. Clinics are tentatively scheduled to resume the week of April 7. The information packets distributed to prospective vaccinees will be revised to include appropriate references to these possible complications.
There have been 118 vaccinations administered to public health and health care workers. Local health departments will be providing information about heart disease to those who have already been vaccinated and advising them to immediately seek medical attention if the have any symptoms. While there has been one non-serious adverse reaction in Illinois, no heart problems have been reported from those who have been vaccinated.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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