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County Smallpox Program Moves Ahead

The Tuolumne County Health Department is now continuing its smallpox vaccination program.

County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp says the inoculations had been postponed in California, Illinois, and New York because some people had heart problems after receiving the vaccine. Those who had complications were in other parts of the country. Dr. Stolp says that was avoided here largely because of a more intense screening process. Among people who were eliminated locally include those with a previous history of heart problems and those who had never previoulsy received the vaccine.

21 emergency responders in Tuolumne County have received the vaccine. Dr. Stolp says that€™s enough people to respond if there were to be an outbreak of the virus in the county. Up to 7 more will be inoculated in about a week. About 1,000 have been vaccinated already in California.

Officials worry that the lethal virus could be used as a weapon in a terrorist attack on the U.S. Officials do not believe that the Mother Lode is a likely target. However, the disease could spread here if a large city, such as Sacramento or San Francisco, was the target of an attack.