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First health care workers receive smallpox vaccine

Updated:

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The first of 500 doses of smallpox vaccine received by the state Health Department were administered Wednesday.

Dr. Tim Cathey, state medical director for bioterrorism preparedness and Tina Johnson, director of nursing education for the department, received the first two shots.

The state received its first shipment of smallpox vaccine last week to inoculate health care workers who could be exposed to the deadly disease in a terrorist attack.

The health department received the vaccine along with vaccinator needles and information kits. Eventually the department will receive a few thousand doses, Cathey said.

A group of employees from the department's central office and health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have volunteered to be the first to receive the shots. There will be follow-up observations for members of this group.

Following the first round of vaccinations, the state will vaccinate health care response teams that would respond to a smallpox outbreak. These teams would be vaccinated so they will be able to vaccinate others and provide critical services if there is an outbreak.
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