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Bioterrorism and Immunizations
The United States government has developed plans on how to respond to possible bioterrorism threats.
A 2007 law called the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act ("Bioshield II") will help companies make more vaccines and drugs that protect against bioterror agents.10
Certain diseases have been identified that pose the greatest threat to the U.S. public. At this time, there is a supply of anthrax and smallpox vaccines only. These immunizations are not currently available to or recommended for the general public. But the government has advised immunization for people at high risk of exposure to anthrax or smallpox, such as health care workers specifically designated to respond to a bioterrorism emergency. Some of these recommendations are listed below.
Anthrax vaccine(What is a PDF document?)
This shot protects against anthrax.
Who should get it?
Five shots are given over 18 months. And booster shots are needed every year for continued protection (immunity).
Smallpox vaccine(What is a PDF document?)
This shot protects against smallpox.
Who should get it?
This shot is given once as several quick punctures on the upper arm, using a special prong device. Immunity after a first-time immunization is likely to be 3 to 5 years. If you have been immunized in the past, successful revaccination may extend your immunity.
More information about these immunization recommendations can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at www.bt.cdc.gov/bioterrorism. For general information about bioterrorism issues, see the topic Terrorism and Other Public Health Threats.
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