What are Smallpox Vaccine Side Effects? – 2022

Smallpox Vaccine – The rise of the monkeypox virus in the European Union and other developed countries has triggered the talk of a smallpox vaccine. A few weeks ago, most governments around the world thought that monkeypox was an African virus and that other countries were safe. 

The latest outbreak of monkeypox in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, United States, Canada, and Australia has woken every health expert in the world, and now the general public is also talking about the virus along with COVID-19.

The world has not recovered from COVID-19 yet as it is still spreading at rapid speed in the United States and other developed countries around the world. Monkeypox has created a fear in the mind of everyone.

Now everyone is talking about the vaccine for smallpox because the vaccine for smallpox is also effective on monkeypox. Health experts believe that smallpox vaccines have at least 85% effectiveness on monkeypox also. 

What is a Smallpox Vaccine?

Scientists made a smallpox vaccine in order to help the body to develop immunity against the smallpox virus. The vaccine contains a virus called vaccinia which is similar to the pokes type virus, and it is directly related to smallpox. 

Even though vaccinia Is directly related to smallpox, it is not a small box virus. Smallpox vaccines contain the live vaccinia virus, not dead like any other vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a special advisory for everyone who is being vaccinated with the smallpox vaccine. Every person who is getting vaccinated with the smallpox vaccine must take it and try to prevent the spread of the vaccinia virus. 

Smallpox Vaccine
Smallpox Vaccine

Side Effects of Smallpox

Before we move ahead, let’s take a look at the side effects of the smallpox vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that it is a safe vaccine for most people. We will talk about both common and serious side effects of the smallpox vaccine.

Common Side Effects

Generally, people get common side effects from taking the vaccine, and they do not require any special medical attention. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people are going to feel pain and soreness on the spot of the vaccine.

At the same time, you might also experience large or swollen lymph nodes in your armpits. Both of them are very common side effects of the smallpox vaccine. Some people might also experience a slight fever after taking the vaccine, which is completely normal and indicates that the vaccine is beginning to work.

Around 33% of people might experience fatigue and dizziness after taking the vaccine. For one or two days smallpox vaccine can also cause anemia. Kindly do not take any medication in order to lower these common side effects, and you should consult with your doctor first.

Even though there is not enough evidence indicating that the smallpox vaccine can mix with other medications, in order to ensure your safety, you should consult with your doctor.

Serious Side Effects

Along with common side effects, there are some serious side effects of the smallpox vaccine. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one person out of every 1000 vaccinated might experience serious but no life-threatening reactions. 

If we compare the smallpox vaccine with the COVID vaccine, then you might feel like there are higher chances of serious side effects with the smallpox vaccine.

There is a probability that the vaccinia virus, available in the vaccine, might spread to other body parts if you touch the vaccination site and then touch another part of the body. You might also spread it to another person. That is why in order to prevent it, you should keep washing your hands on a regular basis.

The Centers for Disease Control and prevention have clearly mentioned that a few people have gotten the smallpox vaccine, and they developed heart inflammation. At the same time, some people have also experienced heart pain and heart attack after getting the scene. 

Currently, there is no known cause of these side effects, and Most health experts believe that they occurred by chance alone. 

How to Get a Smallpox Vaccine?

The smallpox vaccine was discontinued from the general public soon after the smallpox was eliminated from the world. The general public no longer needs smallpox vaccines, But the federal government of the United States has enough stockpiled smallpox vaccines to vaccinate everyone.

The federal government has stockpiled the vaccine in order to ensure the safety of the general public against bioterrorism. If there is no outbreak of smallpox, then the government will not allow most people to get vaccinated for smallpox as there are more side effects.

At the same time, people have to take care of the vaccine spot, as it contains live viruses. You or your employer can make a request to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention for the smallpox vaccine.

  • If you are a lab worker who works with viruses that cause smallpox or other similar viruses, then you or your employer can make a request to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention for the vaccine.

As compared to the coronavirus vaccine, the smallpox vaccine is straightforward and a bit complicated at the same time. A single dose of the smallpox vaccine can ensure your safety against the virus for three to five years. After three to five years, your first dose of the smallpox vaccine will no longer be effective. 

If you want long-term protection against the smallpox virus, then you have to stay updated and keep getting booster vaccinations every three years. 

  • If there is an outbreak of smallpox, then you can also get a smallpox vaccine under the keen observation of health experts. 
  • Centers for Disease Control and prevention have a clause where they can allow people who are directly exposed to the smallpox virus to get the vaccine for the same.

Care and Recovery After Smallpox Vaccine

Once you get the smallpox vaccine due to an outbreak of the virus or you work at a lab where you require a special vaccine, it is very important to take care of the vaccine pot and make sure you have a full recovery.

The smallpox vaccine is among the most complicated vaccines as it requires extra care of the vaccine spot. The vaccination spot must heal on its own for the smallpox vaccine immunization process to be successful. 

  • Once you get the vaccine, you should cover the area with breathable bandages and gauze. It will ensure the safety of the vaccination spot.
  • At the same time, you should also make sure that the cover does not allow liquid to escape. The vaccination process is not like COVID shots. 
  • Doctors give different methods to vaccines, and the liquid can escape from the cover, even if a person has been successfully vaccinated.
  • You should keep changing the gauze and bandages every third day or whenever it gets wet. It will ensure that the vaccination spot is not getting any other infection.
  • Kindly keep washing your hands at regular intervals whenever you touch the vaccination spot. Vaccines for smallpox contain live viruses, and they can affect other body parts and other persons as well.
  •  Most health experts suggest everyone not share the laundry clothes, towels, and sheets once they have successfully been vaccinated. 
  • Apart from that, you should also make sure that you are doing your own laundry separately. There is a probability that the live virus available in the smallpox vaccine can affect others by sharing the clothes.
  • It is very important for you to put used bandages in a separate plastic bag before you throw them away. The virus can live without any host for several days and infect others. 

Can a Smallpox Vaccine Protect Against Monkeypox?

Before we wrap this session, let’s talk about the effectiveness of the smallpox vaccine against monkeypox. In the last few weeks, it has become one of the biggest issues in most Tier-A countries. 

Yes, it is completely true that smallpox vaccines can protect against the monkeypox virus also. Both viruses are closely related to each other, and the smallpox vaccine is about 85% effective against monkeypox.

The problem with the smallpox vaccine is that its effectiveness is higher, but it does not last forever. Most researchers have concluded that smallpox vaccines can protect a person for about three to five years.

If you want longer protection, then you have to get booster shots of the smallpox vaccine after every three years. Whenever a person gets infected with monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention immediately recommends that the person get vaccinated for smallpox also.

Do smallpox vaccines also contain the smallpox virus?

No, smallpox works in does not contain the smallpox virus. Most vaccines contain the deadly virus, and sometimes it also becomes the reason for several other infections. For example, a vaccine for shingles contains the chickenpox virus. It can later become the reason for chickenpox in people who have not been infected with the virus yet. In the case of the smallpox vaccine, it does not contain any dead or alive smallpox virus.