Questions & Answers
Smallpox - Healthcare Workers
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People Who Should Not Be Vaccinated During a Smallpox Outbreak

  1. Who is exempt (contraindicated) from smallpox vaccination in an outbreak?

    No absolute exemptions (contraindications) exist for vaccination of a person with an actual high-risk exposure to smallpox. People at greatest risk for experiencing serious vaccination complications are also at greatest risk for death if exposed to smallpox.

    If a relative contraindication to vaccination exists, the risk for experiencing serious vaccination complications must be weighed against the risk for experiencing a potentially fatal smallpox infection. When the level of exposure risk cannot be determined, the decision to vaccinate should be made after discussion between the clinician and the patient of the potential risks versus the benefits of smallpox vaccination.