(Host) The Vermont State Nurses Association has asked the state to delay its smallpox vaccination program for health care workers. The group says there are too many issues yet to be resolved. Two thousand doses of the smallpox vaccine arrived in Vermont this week. The health department says smallpox vaccination program is set to start shortly.
VPR’s Steve Zind reports:
(Zind) The vaccinations are intended for doctors, nurses and other health care workers who volunteer to be inoculated for smallpox. It’s part of a nationwide effort to prepare for a possible outbreak of the disease from a bioterrorism attack.
The Vermont group’s position mirrors the one taken by the National Nurses Association. Peggy Sharpe is executive director of the Vermont Nurses Association. She says the plan to administer smallpox vaccinations needs to be delayed:
(Sharpe) “…until the concerns about nurses’ health and welfare, as well as some of the issues related to the transmission of the virus to patients and family members, that those issues be more completely resolved.”
(Zind) Sharpe says a number of the concerns have to do with the possible ill effects of the vaccine for nurses who volunteer for the program.
(Sharpe) “Some of those issues are the right of coverage of medical costs associated with receiving the vaccine, the critical need to establish an adequate pre-screening and education program, the compensation for lost time at work due to adverse effects of the vaccination program.”
(Zind) Sharpe says the Vermont Nurses Association is not against the vaccination program and she believes the issues can be resolved.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.