War on Terrorism

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Study predicts smallpox vaccination deaths

“A significant number of deaths and serious side effects could result from a mass smallpox vaccination program, according to a newly published analysis of historical data, and the exact numbers might depend on the strain of virus used to make the vaccine. The smallpox vaccine is a pure preparation of live vaccinia virus, a germ similar to cowpox and smallpox, and there are several different types. The United States stockpiles a strain called New York City Board of Health, or NYCBH, while most European countries have stocks of the Lister strain. Complications from the smallpox vaccine are not common, and deaths are rare. But of the two strains generally stored today, NYCBH is considerably safer than Lister, researchers say. While new and presumably safer vaccines are under development, there is no way to know their side effects until they have been used in a large vaccination campaign.” (The Chronicle Herald; 11Sep06; Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times)

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