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Key Information Regarding Smallpox Vaccine

Michael Mair, Luciana Borio
Date posted:
March 15, 2003
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2003;1(1):53-54

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Available on publisher's website
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Full article as PDF

  • Smallpox vaccine is a live-virus vaccine composed of vaccinia virus—a virus closely related to the causative agent of smallpox, variola major.

  • Immunization with vaccinia virus causes a localized, self-limited infection that elicits an immune response which confers immunity to future infections with the related smallpox virus.

  • Exactly how long and to what extent immunity to smallpox infection lasts after vaccination is uncertain. The current hypothesis, based on epidemiologic data, is that an increased level of protection against smallpox persists for at least three years after primary vaccination and substantial but waning immunity may persist for ?10 years.



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