HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today invited all persons with questions about smallpox and the President’s vaccination plan to visit www.smallpox.gov for comprehensive and up-to-the-minute information. “This is a complicated issue that involves a careful balance between the possibility that smallpox might actually be released at some time by terrorists, and the known risks that are associated with the vaccine itself,” Secretary Thompson said. “I know from my own experience that this issue is complex and difficult, and we need to have answers easily available.”
Healthy adults ages 18 to 29 are needed for a research study comparing the safety and effectiveness of two different vaccines for the prevention of the smallpox disease. The study will compare three dose levels of a new vaccine with the current, approved smallpox vaccine that was provided to all U.S. residents during the period of routine smallpox vaccination. The effectiveness of these trial vaccinations will be measured by observing whether or not there is a skin reaction, such as a blister, at the sight of the vaccination. A skin reaction is a typical response to smallpox vaccination. The response also will be measured by examining the size of the skin reaction and the time it takes for the blister to heal. Participants may become immune to smallpox, which would reduce or prevent infection with smallpox.