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Science And Nature

Why smallpox vaccines fell out of useand what which means for monkeypox

Published August 11, 2022

11 min read

Gregory Poland has been vaccinated against smallpox three timesa necessary precaution as an associate of a bioterrorism response teamand he’s got unpleasant memories of every one. Unlike typical modern vaccines, the smallpox vaccine he received contained live virus applied right to your skin on his arm, that was then punctured 15 times with a bifurcated needle.

Poland, a vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic, says the scar left by the procedure itched like mad. Worse, the live virus it contained meant the scar would remain infectious for per month, where time Poland had to help keep his distance from otherseven sleeping in another room from his wife.

Poland is section of a shrinking population who’ve been vaccinated against smallpox. Because of an historic global vaccination campaign, the condition was eradicated in 1980, meaning the adults of today werent alive when smallpox vaccines were routine. Now, however, monkeypox is driving new demand for the smallpox vaccine. Although monkeypox is much less dangerous than smallpox, both viruses are relatedand there’s some evidence that the smallpox vaccine provides protection from monkeypox.

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