What are some serious reactions to the smallpox vaccine?


This serious infectious disease was declared eliminated worldwide in the late 1970s. But the smallpox virus can be used as a bio-weapon. A smallpox vaccine can prevent it. Serious side effects are rare, but can include:

  • A vaccinia rash or outbreak of sores from accidentally touching the vaccination site and then touching another part of the body. This can be limited to one area, or spread over the body through blood.
  • A toxic or allergic rash.
  • Eczema vaccinatum. Potentially deadly skin rashes caused by widespread infection of the skin in people with skin conditions such as eczema or atopic dermatitis.
  • Progressive vaccinia (or vaccinia necrosum). Skin infection that can be deadly.
  • Postvaccinal encephalitis. Inflammation of the brain.

From: Side Effects of the Smallpox Vaccine WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on October 23, 2018
Reviewed by Renee A. Alli on October 23, 2018


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