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Smallpox vaccine

Brand names: ACAM2000 and Dryvax
Dosage form: percutaneous powder for injection (-)
Drug class: viral vaccines

What is the Smallpox vaccine?

Smallpox is prevented by the smallpox vaccination. The vaccine works by exposing the body to a small amount of virus. This causes immunity against the disease. This vaccine does not treat active infections that have already occurred in the body.

The smallpox vaccination contains a live "vaccinia virus" (a virus that is similar to smallpox). The vaccination site, which is the place on the skin where the vaccine was injected, will therefore be contagious. It can spread the virus to other areas of the body or even to other people. The smallpox vaccination may not protect everyone from the disease.

Side effects of Smallpox vaccine

If you experience symptoms of an allergic response (hives or difficulty breathing, swelling on your face or in your throat) or a severe reaction to the skin (fever or sore neck, skin pain or burning, or a red or purple rash with blistering or peeling), seek emergency medical attention.

If you experience:

  • You may experience sudden changes in vision or eye problems.
  • Confusion, hallucinations, and increased sensitivity to light are all symptoms of heightened sensitivity.
  • Loss of coordination or balance due to a stiff neck or back;
  • Slurred speech; problems with your senses
  • Muscle weakness or paralysis
  • A seizure;
  • The needlestick site may cause an unexpectedly severe reaction, infection, or changes in the skin.
  • An outbreak of skin lesions or blisters anywhere in your body
  • If you experience chest pressure or pain, rapid or irregular heartbeats, or breathing problems, then it is important to seek medical attention.

Side effects of the smallpox vaccination may include:

  • Pain, swelling, or itching at the injection site;
  • Tiredness;
  • Fever, body ache
  • Headache;
  • Rash;
  • Swollen glands.

There may be other side effects. For medical advice on side effects, call your doctor. Report the side effects of vaccines to the US Department of Health and Human Services by calling (800) 822-7967.


If you experience chest pain, pressure, rapid or irregular heartbeats, or breathing difficulties, call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately. The virus can be shed from the injection site. Your vaccination sore is contagious until the scab falls. It can spread the virus for up to four weeks. Seek medical attention if anyone in your family shows symptoms of smallpox, including a skin rash and fever.

Before you take this drug

This vaccine should not be given if you've ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine that contains vaccinia. If you have severe immunosuppression or have undergone a bone marrow transplant, you may not be eligible to receive the smallpox vaccination.

Notify your doctor of any of the following conditions:

  • A heart condition, such as coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure.
  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Heart risk factors include smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
  • A weak immune system
  • Cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma;
  • A skin condition such as eczema (atopic dermatitis);
  • A skin injury, burn, psoriasis, or uncontrolled acne Contact Dermatitis. An infection like impetigo. Chickenpox.
  • A condition that you recently treated with a steroid eye drop or ointment.
  • An allergy to polymyxinb or neomycin;
  • Close contact with pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems, or skin disorders such as eczema.
  • Close contact with an infant under 12 months;
  • If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant,
  • If you recently had cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy,

This vaccine could cause harm to an unborn child. If you are at high risk of infection with smallpox while pregnant, then your doctor will determine if this vaccine is necessary. Ask your doctor if you can breastfeed safely while taking the smallpox vaccination.

How to take Smallpox vaccine?

The smallpox vaccine can be administered using a needle with two prongs that have been dipped in the vaccine solution. It is then used to puncture the skin multiple times, allowing the vaccine to reach the superficial layers of the skin. The needles are not very deep but will cause minor bleeding and some pain.

The smallpox vaccination is usually administered to the upper arm. This injection will be given in a clinic or doctor's office. If you notice any changes in your skin, severe irritation, or signs of infection near the site where the needle was inserted, call your doctor immediately. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any skin lesions or blisters on your body.

Cover your vaccination site with gauze tape and keep it in place, especially if the pus is draining. To keep your vaccination sore, the bandage must allow air to pass through. To keep your vaccination sore, you should change the bandage frequently.

The smallpox vaccination contains a form of virus that can be shed from the injection site. Your vaccination site will remain contagious until the scab has fallen off. The virus could also spread to any other part of your body that comes into contact with the vaccination site. The virus can spread to other parts of your body that come into contact with the vaccination sore for up to 4 weeks. Avoid applying ointments to the sore. Cover the sore with a waterproof bandage while bathing. After bathing, apply a gauze bandage.

Wash your hands thoroughly after touching a vaccination sore or changing bandages. Also, wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling clothes, towels, or other fabrics that have been in contact with the sore. A vaccination sore may spread the smallpox to clothing, bedding, or other items. Cover your healing vaccination sore with a shirt. Put used bandages into a plastic bag that is sealed and placed in the garbage can so that pets and children cannot get to it. Don't let anyone else handle your old bandages.

While your vaccine sore heals, do not share towels or clothing. If someone in your family shows symptoms of smallpox, such as a skin rash or fever, or has body aches, you should seek medical attention. This could be a sign that the virus is spreading to the person in question or something else within the home that they have touched. After your scab has fallen off, seal it up in a plastic bag and toss it. Afterward, wash your hands with hot, soapy water. This vaccine may cause false-positive results in a skin test to detect tuberculosis. Inform any doctor treating you that you received a smallpox vaccination.

Details on dosage

Adult dose for smallpox prophylaxis:

Use 1 drop of scarification (percutaneous multi-puncture technique) to administer in the upper arm, over the insertion point of the deltoid muscles.

What happens if I miss the dose?

You are unlikely to need boosters since smallpox is typically given in a single shot. The smallpox vaccination may not work if a sore doesn't form where the needle was inserted. You may need to re-vaccinate. If you don't develop a smallpox sore in 5 days, call your doctor.

What happens if I overdose?

A smallpox overdose is unlikely because this vaccine is administered by a healthcare professional.

What should be avoided?

Do not touch your vaccination sore after touching someone else. The vaccination sore contains a highly contagious virus. Do not touch the sore or any other part of your body until you wash your hands. Don't donate blood for at least 30 days after getting the smallpox vaccination.

Interaction with other drug

Tell your doctor about any other vaccines that you've recently received before receiving this vaccine.

Tell your doctor if any of the following drugs or treatments have recently been administered to you:

  • An oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;
  • If you have psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other autoimmune disorders, then these medications may be for you.
  • Medicines to treat or prevent transplant rejection

This list is incomplete. This list is not complete. This list does not include all possible drug interactions.