|April 21, 2003|
STATE SCHEDULED TO RESUME SMALLPOX CLINICS ON APRIL 23
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health announced today that it will resume vaccinating public health and health care workers this week. The Department sent out revised pre-event smallpox vaccination packets - PDF on April 18 and has advised smallpox clinics to begin rescheduling volunteers.
In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced possible cardiac complications associated with smallpox vaccinations. As a result, IDPH temporarily put its clinics on hold. Upon receipt and review of CDC's additional guidance, Illinois' information packet was revised to reflect these recommendations for individuals diagnosed as having a heart condition.
"The Department's primary focus is the safety of those individuals who volunteer to be vaccinated," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. "With the addition of these new guidelines, potential volunteers will have more detailed information about the smallpox vaccine so they can make an informed decision."
In addition to recommending that persons with weakened immune systems (cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, persons with HIV/AIDS and persons taking steroids), women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, nursing mothers and persons with eczema or certain other skin conditions not receive vaccinations at this time, the information packet now includes CDC's recommendation for individuals diagnosed as having a heart condition with or without symptoms. These heart conditions include --
In addition, individuals who have three or more risk factors for heart conditions should not get the smallpox vaccine. These include risk factors such as:
In addition to CDC's recommendations, the Department is advising individuals with diabetes not to get the smallpox vaccination, even in the absence of other known cardiac risk factors. Individuals 65 years of age or older or those with chronic medical conditions should seek physician guidance before volunteering for the smallpox vaccination.
Individuals volunteering for smallpox vaccination go through a detailed screening and education process before getting the vaccine. Each volunteer is given an information packet, which was revised April 18 to reflect new supplemental CDC and Department guidelines, at least five days prior to vaccination and receives another packet as well as views an 11-minute smallpox vaccine education video just prior to vaccination.
Dr. Whitaker said any public health or health care worker volunteering for the smallpox vaccine should thoroughly review these educational materials as well as discuss their decision with members of their household, close physical contacts and their personal physician before receiving the vaccination.
There have been 118 vaccinations administered to public health and health care workers in Illinois. Information about heart disease also has been provided to previously vaccinated individuals advising them to immediately seek medical attention if they develop chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms of cardiac disease after vaccination. While there have been five non-serious adverse reactions in Illinois, no heart problems have been reported from those who have been vaccinated.
of Public Health
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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