The French government categorically denies that it is one of four nations possessing smallpox [front page, Nov. 5].

Since 1980, the World Health Organization has banned the possession of human smallpox strains. France scrupulously respects its international commitments. Consequently, it has no human smallpox strains in its laboratories, be they civilian or military.

France also has regulatory provisions to track the movement of any agent responsible for infectious diseases on its territory. Pursuant to this regulation, all French laboratories must declare the transfer of any such strains.

NATHALIE LOISEAU

Director

Press Information and Communication Office

Embassy of France

Washington

Four nations may be preparing smallpox as a weapon, and the U.S. population may be vulnerable, but it took The Post only four sentences to say that a vaccination program could kill an estimated 300 Americans.

I'm sure the danger posed to a few Americans by vaccination is real, but what about the rest of us?

I was appalled when my physician told me that I cannot buy vaccinations for my family for any price. Who gave the federal government the right to decide whether my children can be vaccinated?

At a news conference about a year ago, a White House spokesman dodged a question about whether President Bush has been vaccinated. As a citizen, why am I not entitled to know that?

ROBERT F. DORR

Oakton