Smallpox Vaccinations

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Wisconsin's smallpox inoculation for county health care workers begins Monday at 25 clinics around the state. But, not all health care providers are stepping up for the shots.

Manitowoc County Health Department nurse manager Amy Wergin is among those not willing to have 15 punctures of smallpox vaccine with a two-pronged needle.

Wergin says unless the federal government has a plan to compensate for the vaccine's potentially dangerous side effects, her department will pass on the shots.

Smallpox is one of the deadliest diseases known to man. It was declared eradicated in 1980. But the Bush administration fears terrorists could unleash reserves of the virus.

Wergin says if she were in the military, heading for war, then she'd probably get the vaccine.

Of 100,000 military personnel already vaccinated, two have been hospitalized with encephalitis. Another was sent to the hospital with inflammation of the heart muscle.