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The Nation | IN BRIEF / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Thompson Says He'll Skip Smallpox Vaccine

December 16, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said he does not plan to be inoculated with the smallpox vaccine, and he recommends that other Cabinet members not request the inoculation either.

President Bush said that he will take the vaccine along with U.S. military forces but that he was not recommending the risky inoculation for most Americans.

The vaccine, which will be free for those who want it, carries rare but serious side effects. One or 2 out of every 1 million patients will be killed by the vaccine, and 15 will face life-threatening complications.

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