NEW YORK — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously on June 20 against universal smallpox vaccinations for US citizens, instead recommending to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson that only first responders and certain medical personnel be vaccinated prophylactically.

"There was no compelling evidence that it would be appropriate to recommend it, given what we know about the threat level and the fact that there has been no disease since 1977," David A. Neumann, director of the Alexandria, Virginia-based National Partnership for Immunization, told The Scientist.

The committee recommended a policy of "surveillance and containment through selective vaccination of contacts," which extends the existing "ring vaccination" strategy of identifying and immunizing contacts of a case, and the contacts of the contacts ringing the outbreak. The strategy is based on the fact that vaccinating contacts within four...

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