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Infectious Diseases

Old smallpox vacination vs. current smallpox

11/15/2001

Question:

I received a smallpox vacination as an infant in 1964. Does that vacination provide protection against the current smallpox virus that could be used in bio-warfare?

Answer:

Information is incomplete, but it seems that immunity from smallpox vaccine starts to fade 5-10 years after vaccination. By 20 years after vaccination immunity to smallpox is probably gone.

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Response by:

Amy Beth Kressel, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati