Local public health officials have availed themselves of protection against one form of potential biological terrorism, subjecting themselves to smallpox vaccinations and allowing the community to learn the results.
The Cape Girardeau County Health Department traveled to the Butler County Health Department in Poplar Bluff two weeks ago for the vaccinations, part of a homeland security effort to protect those who would be on the front lines of a fight against a bioterrorism attack.
None of the four has experienced any side effects, and all of the vaccinations took.
By January 2004, smallpox vaccinations will be available to the general public. They would be available even before were there an immediate threat of bioterrorism. It is important that every American be informed so he can make this possibly life-or-death decision for himself and his family.
The health department nurses have allowed this education to happen by working with the Southeast Missourian to follow them step-by-step through the process with interviews and photographs. They deserve our thanks for their openness.