- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2002

President Bush received a smallpox vaccination yesterday, fulfilling a promise he made when he ordered inoculations for about a half-million U.S. troops.
The president showed no immediate ill effects from the vaccine, which can sicken and, in rare cases, kill those who get it. An hour after being inoculated in his left arm, Mr. Bush carried his dog, Barney, with that arm as he walked to his helicopter and left for a family Christmas at Camp David.
Mr. Bush announced Dec. 13 that the vaccine would be mandatory for those forces in "high risk" parts of the world.
"As commander in chief, I do not believe I can ask others to accept this risk unless I am willing to do the same," he said.
Smallpox was eradicated in 1980, but with war in Iraq a growing possibility, the president said the nation must evaluate "old threats in a new light" since the September 11 attacks.
Mr. Bush, 56, received the inoculation at 12:15 p.m. in the White House medical unit. A senior immunization technician from Walter Reed Army Medical Center did the honors as White House physician Richard Tubb looked on, spokeswoman Jeanne Mamo said.
"He feels fine and there are no side effects," she said of the president.
In his weekly radio address earlier, Mr. Bush urged Americans to fill the "pockets of despair in America" by aiding needy neighbors during the Christmas season and also sent greetings to U.S. troops.
"They stand between Americans and grave danger. They serve in the cause of peace and freedom. They wear the uniform proudly, and we are so proud of them," Mr. Bush said.
The president and first lady Laura Bush will stay at the presidential retreat in Maryland through Christmas Day, then fly to their ranch in Crawford, Texas, before returning Jan. 4 to Washington. A doctor accompanying the president will monitor him for side effects.
Experts estimate that 15 out of every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time will face life-threatening complications and that one or two will die. Typical side effects include sore arms, fever and swollen glands. In a trial in Nashville, Tenn., about 10 percent experienced extreme discomfort.

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