According to officials of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the training is only a preparedness effort should it become necessary to vaccinate the public. There are no plans to vaccinate the public at this time, they emphasize.
The effort to prepare health care officials for a possible outbreak of the disease came as part of the state's bioterrorism preparedness effort.
Though smallpox has been eradicated and smallpox shots are no longer given, national defense officials have expressed fear that an enemy could have access to the smallpox virus.
The workshops-called "Train the Trainer"-are designed to prepare nurses in each county to train other healthcare officials in the county on administration of the vaccine.
The workshops will consist of presentations conducted by state health consultants followed by hands-on training. The nurses will learn to administer the vaccine using bifucated needles and oranges.
Bladen County Health Director Myra Johnson told Health Board members at their November meeting that she is a little concerned about public reaction, should it become necessary to do mass inoculations. She pointed out that the shots have not been given in the United States in many years and many people may fear possible reactions.