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Not for publication

Feb. 7, 2003 -- No. 77

UNC School of Nursing to provide smallpox vaccination training

Monday (Feb. 10), 2:20 p.m.
Carrington Hall, rooms 540 and 522
South Columbia Street
UNC campus

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing will hold a smallpox vaccination education and administration training session for area nurses and UNC nursing faculty at 2:20 p.m. Monday (Feb. 10).

The session will provide a brief overview of the smallpox vaccine and include demonstrations and hands-on practice of vaccine administration techniques.

The event is an effort to "train the trainers," according to Carol Durham, clinical associate professor and one of the leaders of the session. Teaching more nurses how to properly administer the smallpox vaccination and educate recipients on proper post-vaccination care is very important, she said, as the majority of todayís health-care workers have never administered the vaccine. The goal is to train the sessionís attendees how to teach other nurses the procedure.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the intentional release of smallpox as an epidemic disease is regarded as a potential threat to the health of the American public. Although currently no vaccinations are being administered to the general public, the U.S. government has created a national smallpox response plan designed to quickly vaccinate the public should an outbreak occur.

The last naturally occurring case of smallpox in the world was reported in 1977, according to the CDC. Because the disease was eradicated through worldwide vaccination programs, the vaccination was eliminated from routine inoculations.

The American Nurses Association released a statement in late January announcing a strong need to educate nurses on the smallpox vaccine: when the vaccine should and should not be administered, the effectiveness of the vaccine and what role nurses would play in the case of a mass vaccination.

Additional information on smallpox and the smallpox vaccine is available at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/index.asp.

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School of Nursing contact: Sunny Smith Nelson, (919) 966-1412