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FOR RELEASE: January 7, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Media Advisory

State Health Department Schedules Smallpox Vaccination Training for Nurses

What: “Train the Trainer” Smallpox Vaccination Training
When: Thursday, January 9, 2003
12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - Student Center
1106 North Stonewall - Oklahoma City

Background: The Oklahoma State Department of Health is hosting this workshop to teach participants how to administer the smallpox vaccine. This training is a necessary part of Oklahoma’s plan for vaccinating frontline health care workers who would investigate or treat possible or actual cases of smallpox resulting from a bioterrorism event. The smallpox vaccine is given using a special bifurcated needle. Since smallpox vaccinations were discontinued in the U.S. in 1972, very few of today’s nurses have had experience in giving this vaccine. Participants will include nurses from the city-county health departments in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, the Indian Health Services, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Following this training, they should be able to administer the vaccine and teach others to do the same.

Opportunities: The participants will practice the vaccination technique on each other, with real bifurcated needles. This will provide a good photo and video story opportunity. It is also another chance to explain to the public the upcoming vaccinations for front-line health care workers, expected to begin in the next few weeks.

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