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Dear (Director of your health district)
The recent news that the CDC sent a 48-page report to all 50 states detailing a plan to vaccinate a million state citizens in 10 days is of concern to me since it was not mentioned in the June 20, 2002 CDC telebriefing conference on the use of smallpox vaccine. In fact, Dr. John Modlin, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, stated at this conference, "The vaccination will always be voluntary. We're long past the days of which we send strong-armed people in to knock down doors and hold people down to vaccinate them. So it's important to emphasize that the administration of this vaccine would always be done on a voluntary basis for those individuals who would be designated to receive vaccine."
The CDC policy as a result of the four public forums and this teleconference was one of surveillance and ring vaccination. So what could have possibly changed their stand on this important issue?
The state of Oregon has rejected the CDC�s recent plan to prepare for mass vaccinations since it is not based on their previous and more prudent recommendations. Dr. Paul Cieslak, head of Oregon�s communicable disease program, has decided to stick to its double ring vaccination plan. This means that public health workers would first vaccinate close friends and household members of anyone infected with smallpox - creating ring one - then would vaccinate close friends and household members of those people, creating a second ring. Is our state planning on adopting a similar strategy?
Also, there are clear contraindications to the smallpox vaccine on the CDC website, such as those who are immuno-suppressed by either diseases or drugs. In fact, it is estimated that 25 percent of the U.S. population falls into this category. I am concerned that our state will implement a plan that would put many people at risk for complications from this untested and possibly dangerous vaccine. And, as you know, many people will contract a form of smallpox from the vaccine itself. How can we be assured that the vaccine will work at all if there are no studies that prove "clinical" efficacy?
But what I am most concerned about is the actual ingredients in the smallpox vaccine with "my name on it". I understand that there are many ingredients in these vaccines that are not always disclosed in the packet insert so I feel it would be prudent to be able to view a laboratory analysis of any product intended to go into my lymphatic system and bloodstream.
But most importantly, once the public has more complete information on the smallpox vaccine intended for them (efficacy studies, safety studies, laboratory analysis of ingredients, etc.), will our state be promoting a voluntary smallpox vaccine program? Afterall, if the smallpox vaccine indeed works, there should be no need to mass vaccinate the state since the ones who volunteer to get the shot should be adequately protected, right?
Furthermore, I have several old medical textbooks that treat smallpox much like measles or chickenpox. In other words, it was not considered a deadly disease. In fact, at the CDC Public Forum on Smallpox in St. Louis, Missouri on June 8, 2002, the following question was asked, "We read in every medical and general publication that the case fatality rate from smallpox is 30 percent. What was the actual cause of death from smallpox?" Dr.Margolis of the CDC responded, "Most people died from electrolyte imbalances and possibly renal (kidney) disease. In addition, the skin sometimes exfoliated (sloughed off) and it acted like a burn. "Most cases that died were in Bangladesh and Central Africa."
So the CDC admits that their figures on the fatality rate from smallpox are based on third world living conditions. We have to wonder if they actually died of malnutrition and unsanitary living conditions rather than smallpox.
Finally, we have to wonder why the media keeps telling us that smallpox is highly contagious? At the St. Louis Public Forum, Dr. Joel Kuritsky, CDC�s Director of Preparedness and Early Smallpox Response Activity for the National Immunization Program, stated that one of the reasons the forums were being held was to clear up some misconceptions about smallpox. He stated throughout the forum that smallpox is not contagious like measles; smallpox will not spread rapidly through the population; and that smallpox is transmitted slowly and only after prolonged, direct, face-to-face contact.
Based on both the information above and available from the CDC website, I would like to know what our state�s smallpox vaccination plans are. I would also like to know if you will be able to provide me with an independent laboratory analysis of the smallpox vaccines our state will be acquiring.
Thank you in advance for the time and attention you give to this vital issue.
(Your name and contact information)
Download MS Ver7.0 file: letter to: (Director of your health district) 15K healthdept.doc
Smallpox Article Index: http://www.vaclib.org/basic/smallpoxindex.htm