Way to stretch smallpox vaccine supply?

  1. While the present Anthrax situation doesn't really worry me, (it is treatable with antibiotics), the thought of a smallpox outbreak does. Besides not having any treatment (viral), there are not enough stockpiles of the vaccine to treat a large outbreak let alone vaccinate for prevention. I had an idea for stretching the supply of vaccine that is available but I don't know if this idea is realistic or just stupid. I have been trying to find an answer on the internet but I can't find exactly what I am looking for. I have tried contacting the CDC but all I get is a form letter. So, I thought I would throw it out to all of you to see if you think it is possible or am I completely off base. My idea is that perhaps material from the primary lesion caused by a vaccination could be used to vaccinate other people. I know that you can accidentally innoculate yourself on other parts of the body by transferring the material with your hands, but would it be effective if transferred to someone else? That way, one person per family could be vaccinated and a few days later the lesion could be used for the rest of the family. I am probably completely wrong with this but maybe one of you know the answer or knows where to look for more information. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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    About Ellen in Ont

    Joined: Apr '01; Posts: 46; Likes: 2
    RN in ICU


  3. by   Huganurse
    Dear Ellen, I think your idea is brilliant!!! And I think it would work!!! I am no expert but what little I've heard it could be possible. I'd like to hear from others on this subject too. With more cases of Anthrax popping up every day, it is scary out there right now. I think we should be doing everything and anything possible to save the lives of Americans and people of other countries should follow suit. What can we do as the nurses of the USA to save lives during this war? This is new territory to me. Who makes the recommendation then the decision to allow us to vaccinate? Who should we be calling or writing to with our concerns? Would they even listen to us?
  4. by   Ellen in Ont
    Thanks for the support Huganurse. I have been trying to reach different people by e-mail to see if they can tell me a procedure to use and the amount needed. Does the material get diuted and in how much and with what? I have e-mailed people at the WHO and in the section of WHO responsible for vaccine research and development. So for I haven't heard anything back from anyone. It would be nice to get some kind of answer. I have been reading up on ways that outbreaks were handled in the past (before it was erradicated) and it sounds pretty bleak. From what I am reading it looks like anyone with the disease would be isolated in one place for three weeks (not a hospital unless they clear out all other patients) and kept under guard to prevent them from leaving to spread it to others. That is just the tip of the iceburg! Not enjoyable reading.