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London 2012 Olympics OLYMPICS TEAM - Daily Telegraph - Hundreds of frontline health workers vaccinated against smallpox

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London 2012 Olympics OLYMPICS TEAM - Daily Telegraph - Hundreds of frontline health workers vaccinated against smallpox

Post  Angelique on Sun 1 Jan - 13:19

Hundreds of frontline health workers vaccinated against smallpox
More than five hundred health workers have been vaccinated against smallpox enabling them to deal with a biological terror attack at this year’s Olympics.




The Government has also stockpiled sufficient supplies of smallpox vaccines to 'mount a UK-wide vaccination programme' in the event of a deliberate release of the disease, which was declared eradicated in 1980 Photo: ALAMY
By Edward Malnick8:00AM GMT 01 Jan 20123 Comments
The move highlights the level of concern within Whitehall over the prospect of extremists turning to germ warfare. Elaborate measures are being taken to counter a range of threats at the summer’s Games, with the bill for venue security and policing rising above £1 billion.
The Government has also stockpiled sufficient supplies of smallpox vaccines to “mount a UK-wide vaccination programme” in the event of a deliberate release of the disease, which was declared eradicated in 1980.
A Home Office report last January warned that Games venues or public transport would make an “appealing target” for terrorists to launch biological attacks, such as those involving smallpox. The deadly disease could be spread by aerosols and is highly contagious.
The immunised medical staff includes 147 doctors, 164 nurses, 100 paramedics, and 32 scientists, who have been divided up into a series of Smallpox Management and Response Teams (SMART). Each team is made up of five health professionals, including a specialist nurse and a paediatrician. All are specially trained in smallpox diagnosis and management.
Although the teams were not specifically established for the Olympics, the Government has drawn up contingency plans to ensure that they will be available during the period of the Games in July and August.
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Members of the teams were first identified and vaccinated in 2005, and they have boosters every three years. In the event of an outbreak, they would be immediately diverted from their regular jobs in the NHS and Health Protection Agency.
Details of the arrangements have came to light after a former Conservative minister raised questions in Parliament about the contingency plans for a biological attack on the London games.
Lord Jopling warned in a Lords debate last month that a “pathetically low” number of workers in the emergency services were vaccinated against smallpox and anthrax.
In a letter following the Lords debate Lord Henley, a Home Office minister, said the Government was prepared for a variety of scenarios.
“A wide range of possible incidents or attacks has been considered by government. Following this process, the UK Health Departments have established an appropriate stockpile of vaccines, medical countermeasures and specialist equipment to be used to protect and treat the public and emergency responders,” he wrote.
In the letter, dated December 19, Lord Henley added: “Government has taken steps to protect emergency service personnel against such threats. A cohort of front line health workers has been vaccinated to deal with any initial suspected or confirmed cases of smallpox. No additional plans are in place specifically in response to the impending London 2012 Olympics, although risks are regularly reviewed based in part on the threat level in the national risks assessment (NRA).”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “We have contingency plans in place to ensure the appropriate staffing levels of those 516 during the Olympics.”
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Re: London 2012 Olympics OLYMPICS TEAM - Daily Telegraph - Hundreds of frontline health workers vaccinated against smallpox

Post  Panda on Tue 3 Jan - 4:07

What a terrible World we live in that such precautions need to be taken for an event that unites the World for a while.

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