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CDC Begins Shipping Smallpox Vaccine to the States

Interview with Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director, CDC

January 22, 2003

1. CDC's immediate goal is to begin vaccinating the smallpox response teams as quickly, and as safely, as we possibly can. Protecting the public is our core business and safety is our highest priority.

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2. CDC has begun shipping smallpox vaccine and we expect states to initiate their vaccination programs as soon as they are safely ready to do so.

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3. We are living in a climate of uncertainly and that includes the threat of a possible biological attack with smallpox. CDC fully supports President Bush's decision to vaccinate smallpox response teams. We believe this is the best way to protect our nation should an attack occur.

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4. The President based his decision on the fact that we live in a dangerous world. A smallpox attack is not imminent but it is a threat and we must be prepared.

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5. Smallpox is a very serious disease that is spread from person to person and it has a very high mortality rate. The vaccine we're using for this program is the same vaccine we used to eradicate natural smallpox disease.

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This page last reviewed January 22, 2003

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