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Capitol Health Call
June 4, 2003

$100 Million More for Smallpox Vaccinations

JAMA. 2003;289(21):2787. doi:10.1001/jama.289.21.2787-a

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has authorized the release of $100 million to states for boosting their efforts to vaccinate health care workers against smallpox. The funds were authorized in a bill that also provides compensation for injured vaccinees.

President George W. Bush had hoped that 500 000 "first responders" would step up for vaccination, but by April 25, only 34 541 had been vaccinated. (In contrast, the Department of Defense had vaccinated more than 400 000 military personnel between mid-December of last year and early May.) Some state health departments balked at Bush's plan, complaining that a mass vaccination effort would shift resources from other vital areas.

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