Smallpox inoculations begin Friday afternoon in Tulsa - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

Smallpox inoculations begin Friday afternoon in Tulsa

About 45 of Tulsa’s first responders will get smallpox shots Friday afternoon.

Two have already received their shots. News on Six anchor Tami Marler updates on how they’re doing.

We've heard about the side effects from the smallpox vaccine, which range from irritation at the site, to severe flu-like illness. But, what's it really like, a week later? “See you can see that it's draining just a little bit." Brenda Dale doesn't recall ever having a smallpox vaccine, so when she went to Oklahoma City for the state's first vaccinations, she was treated like a first-timer. That meant she was only poked three times with the two-pronged needle, rather than the fifteen pokes for those who had previously been inoculated.

Brenda says the "hype" was much worse than the actual shot. "There is no tenderness no pain. The only thing is you do have some itching periodically throughout the day." Dale and Janice Sheehan are the only two Tulsa County employees to be vaccinated so far. For the next two weeks, they'll help track each other's progress.

"We do take our temperature every day. We do a little checklist every day. Everything's been normal. Of course you want to keep it clean and dry because you certainly don't want to get a secondary bacterial infection in there." And you don't want to pass along the live virus. It's vaccinia, a milder pox, so the disease would not be as severe as full-blown smallpox, which is deadly in a third of all cases.

If someone infected with smallpox were to go to a crowded place, the effects would be devastating. That's why the health department is getting ready. “We're ready to go. All we're doing is waiting on the vaccine. The Tulsa City County Health Department is ready to put this plan in progress as soon as we can get vaccine from the state health department."

Janice Sheehan has had several smallpox vaccines, so her site is healing quickly. "Well now hers will eventually look like that, but see mine has progressed to the stage where it's really crusting over now."

The next step is to vaccinate each hospital's smallpox response team, then offer vaccines to emergency responders. Depending on when the state releases more vaccine, the health department will offer it to the general public.
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