Feds weigh smallpox vaccine for public

Friday, September 27, 2002

WASHINGTON -- Looming war with Iraq and growing concern over the threat of bioterrorism are moving federal officials to consider what was once unthinkable: offer the risky vaccine to the general public before an attack ever occurs.

The Bush administration is preparing to offer it to all 280 million Americans. The administration has yet to make final decisions or announce plans for what is called "pre-attack" smallpox vaccination. But administration officials say the consensus is to begin vaccinating those at greatest risk.

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