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Clin Med Res. 2003 Apr;1(2):87-92.

Smallpox vaccine: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Author information

  • 1Epidemiology Research Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin 54449, USA. belongia.edward@mcrf.mfldclin.edu

Abstract

Smallpox inarguably shaped the course of human history by killing countless millions in both the Old World and the New World. Dr. Edward Jenner's discovery of vaccination in the late 18th century, and the global eradication of smallpox in the 1970s, rank among the greatest achievements in human history. Amidst recent growing concerns about bioterrorism, smallpox vaccination has resurfaced from the history books to become a topic of major importance. Inoculation with vaccinia virus is highly effective for the prevention of smallpox infection, but it is associated with several known side effects that range from mild and self-limited to severe and life-threatening. As the United States moves forward with plans to vaccinate selected health care workers and the military, and perhaps offer the vaccination to all citizens in the future, it is important to fully understand and appreciate the history, risks, and benefits of smallpox vaccination.

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PMID:
15931293
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1069029
Free PMC Article
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