East Texas Split On Smallpox Vaccine - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/22/02 - Tyler

East Texas Split On Smallpox Vaccine

President Bush made good on a promise Saturday, getting a smallpox vaccination. Earlier this year, the President ordered inoculations for about half a million US troops, and promised to take the shot himself.

The smallpox vaccine can, on rare occasions, have side effects, including a one in one million chance of causing death. Although smallpox has been eradicated, the possibility exists that terrorists could use the disease as a weapon. In East Texas, opinion was split over the use of a vaccine with potentially deadly side effects.

Abby Fender of Tyler applauds the President. "I think he's smart. Absolutely, if one was available I would certainly take it. Obviously you don't want to run the risk of getting it."

However, Angela Hallmark of Jacksonville doesn't think it's necessary. "At this point, no," she says, "Just because I don't feel that there is a need for it at this time."

Mark Minor, who has enlisted in the Army and will be joining in January, won't have much of a choice as to whether he'll take the shot or not, but he says he prefers the odds. "One in two million will die from it, I'm not worried. I'd rather get it than have to worry about it."

The half a million troops who must get the small pox shot will be stationed in what the military believes to be high-risk areas.

Reid Kerr reporting.

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