N.D. Workers’ Comp to Cover Smallpox Vaccine Reactions

March 3, 2003

North Dakota Workers’ Compensation (NDWC) plans to cover potential health-care workers’ and emergency responders’ adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine during phase two of the national program to immunize the “first responders” to a dreaded smallpox terrorist attack.

NDWC announced in January that it would cover the health-care workers’ reactions involved in phase one of the program.

The second phase of the national plan, which also will rely on the stockpiled vaccine, calls for vaccination of many more health-care workers and emergency response personnel beginning in April. A third of those vaccinated in the first and second phases of the program are expected to have flu-like symptoms for two or three days and most will have sore, itchy arms.

The North Dakota Department of Health is currently vaccinating selected health-care workers in North Dakota against smallpox. Known as the Phase One Vaccination Program, these efforts are in keeping with the National Smallpox Vaccination Plan approved by President George W. Bush, as part of the National Homeland Defense Law.

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