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New Smallpox Immunization Policy Issued
AAFP Takes Stand on Widespread Smallpox Vaccinations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 06, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
In case of an outbreak, then ring containment immunization (immunizing all people the patient came in contact with prior to diagnosis and quarantine) should receive highest priority with other immunization programs initiated if needed. If federal authorities determine that the threat level has changed, then a more aggressive immunization program should be considered.
The Academy does not advocate a widespread smallpox vaccination at this time. The complications and potential death that could occur by vaccinating all people in America outweigh the current risk of a bioterrorist attack. It is important to note that the smallpox vaccine contains live vaccinia virus. The person vaccinated against the disease can actually spread the virus up until the time the injection site heals (up to six weeks).
“This approach is appropriately aggressive in protecting those most at risk while also protecting the public’s health,” said Warren A. Jones, M.D., AAFP President.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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