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State Smallpox Vaccine Program on Hold

The director of the California health department has temporarily cancelled the state´s smallpox vaccination program following widespread concern that the vaccine causes heart problems in some of the people who received it. The move by State Health Director Diane M. Bonta comes as health officials in Illinois and New York have suspended all smallpox vaccinations while investigators review the cases of 3 individuals who suffered fatal heart attacks after being immunized.

The California Nurses Association has also called on the state to end its smallpox program. Although participation is voluntary for nurses and doctors, the nurses´ group says it is irresponsible for the state to administer the program when at least a dozen health care workers and military personnel across the country have experienced heart troubles after receiving the vaccine.