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Am J Infect Control. 2005 Aug;33(6):315-9.

Monitoring health care workers after smallpox vaccination: findings from the Hospital Smallpox Vaccination-Monitoring System.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee recommended that hospitals establish on-site, daily assessments of health care workers vaccinated with smallpox vaccine. The Hospital Smallpox Vaccination Monitoring System (HSVMS) was 1 component of the smallpox vaccination plan to monitor adverse events on-site in hospitals. This report presents findings from February to August 2003.


All US institutions participating in the smallpox vaccination program were eligible to enroll in and use HSVMS through the Internet-based Centers for Disease Control Secure Data Network.


Of the 730 enrolled vaccinees, 341 (47%) were nurses; 122 (17%) physicians; 75 (10%) laboratory, patient care, radiology, or other technicians; 39 (5%) administrators; 22 (3%) housekeepers; 21 (3%) physical or respiratory therapists; 20 (3%) infection control professionals; 19 (3%) safety or security staff; and 17 (2%) epidemiologists; and 54 (7%) were workers in other job categories. Most (86%) vaccinees had been previously vaccinated. Postvaccination signs and symptoms were frequent: itching (75.2%), pain at the vaccination site (31.6%), swollen or tender lymph nodes (26.4%), fatigue (26.2%), and headache (20.8%). Symptoms were highest during the first week after vaccination; symptoms were more frequently reported among vaccinees without previous vaccination. Adherence to recommended vaccination site care was reported in 2732 of 3091 (88.4%) follow-up visits among workers with patient contact. Of the 4379 days workers planned to work, during 31 (0.7 per 100) days, workers performed restricted activities, and, in 60 (1.4 per 100) days, workers were absent.


Findings from HSVMS indicate that adherence to post-smallpox vaccination site care was high and that the number of days of work affected was low.

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