On Friday, March 28, 2003, several public health nurses and health department
officials will cross their local health jurisdictions to receive voluntary
smallpox vaccinations at the Bay County Community Center. These individuals
partially comprise the Region 3 Public Health Response Team and, in turn, will
vaccinate selected hospital-based Health Care Response Teams in our region at a
later date. Media from the surrounding areas are invited to arrive by 9:00 a.m.
for a short briefing and proceed to observe the administration of a smallpox
inoculation to a volunteer. Rick Dryzga, Health Officer of Bay County Health
Department, and key smallpox clinic planning members will be available for
comment. Doors will promptly close to the media at 10:00 a.m.
Region 3 is one of eight emergency preparedness regions in Michigan. It is
comprised of 13 counties, including Genesee, 29 hospitals, 11 medical control
authorities and 10 local public health jurisdictions and provides the structural
framework for implementing Michiganís smallpox vaccination program.
In each of the eight regions, a Public Health Response Team and several
hospital-based Health Care Response Teams have been designated to receive
voluntary smallpox inoculations. In the case of a potential smallpox outbreak,
these teams would be mobilized to assist with the treatment and vaccination of
smallpox patients and others exposed. In the next stage of vaccinations, the
dates and plans for which are still undetermined, law enforcement, fire
officials and all other health care workers may be offered smallpox
inoculations. The federal government has announced no plans to inoculate the
general public, and currently recommends against it.
For additional smallpox information, visit the Genesee County Health
Departmentís website at http://www.gchd.us,
the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/smallpox,
and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) website at www.michigan.gov/mdch/.