January 16, 2003
Posted at: 5:25 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Health Department says that if all goes as planned, 22 Arkansas clinics will begin vaccinating more than ten thousand health-care workers against smallpox.
The workers are among the first who would respond to a bioterrorist attack. They include public health workers, hospital workers and those giving the vaccinations themselves. Bob Alvey, a spokesman for the state Health Department, said the vaccinations will be administered on a volunteer basis in February.
Next month's program will be the first phase of a nationwide plan to better prepare the country for bioterrorism. Other emergency responders and law enforcement officers will be vaccinated in the second phase.
The general public would be vaccinated in Phase three. Each round of vaccinations will be voluntary.