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Smallpox vaccine in AUS

  1. croupier

    5,447 Posts.

    Statement by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer
    24 October 2001

    The threat of smallpox being introduced into Australia in an act of biological terrorism is low, according to the Commonwealth's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Richard Smallwood.

    Professor Smallwood said today that security authorities have advised that the risk of smallpox virus being available to terrorists, and of being re-introduced into Australia, was remote.

    "However, I am aware that worried members of the public are asking doctors for vaccination to protect them against smallpox.

    "Due to the eradication of smallpox from the world in 1979, Australia has no smallpox vaccine currently available. However, the Commonwealth Health Department has had discussions with international organisations to secure access to adequate quantities of vaccine in the most unlikely event of a smallpox incident.

    "There is no indication for vaccinating the general public against smallpox. However, in the new security environment, arranging access to emergency supplies of the vaccine is a prudent, precautionary measure."

    In the unlikely event that smallpox was re-introduced into Australia, it would be rapidly contained through surveillance, quarantine, vaccination and treatment.


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