Where can I get a smallpox vaccine

Smallpox vaccination - also in Germany?


Smallpox is considered defeated worldwide. In the meantime, however, secret services are no longer ruling out the possibility that terrorists could be in possession of this virus. That is why the countries want to increase their vaccine stocks ...

There has been no smallpox vaccination in Germany since 1976, as the highly contagious and life-threatening disease is considered to be eradicated worldwide. Smallpox vaccinations that were given before this time usually no longer offer adequate vaccination protection. Officially, only Russia and Korea are storing the virus for disease control. American secret services suspect that there are unofficial smallpox camps in Iraq and North Korea, among others. Terrorists could also get hold of the viruses via secret smallpox camps.

Prevention against the smallpox virus
In view of the increasing risk of bio-terrorist attacks, the federal states are currently examining what a preventive program could look like in the event of a smallpox attack. However, public medical officers would first have to receive training in order to be able to carry out a mass vaccination. The smallpox vaccine is a live vaccine. It contains modified pathogens that multiply in humans but do not make them sick. The immune system learns how it can fight the pathogen. In the event of an outbreak, the smallpox vaccination would first have to register doctors and nurses. The vaccination can still be successful even four days after infection.

Possible side effects of the vaccine
The traditional smallpox vaccine has severe side effects. Therefore, vaccination should only be given when the disease occurs. Vaccination complications include pain at the vaccination site, swollen axillary glands, skin rashes, allergic reactions and meningitis. In the case of meningitis or if the rashes spread and destroy tissue, the vaccination reaction can even be fatal. In particular, people with skin problems (such as neurodermatitis) or with a weakened immune system (e.g. with HIV), but also the elderly and small children, are at risk. Statistically speaking, there is one death and 1,300 serious complications for every million vaccinations.

Pre-vaccination seven days before the "actual" vaccination would make the vaccination more tolerable. They have been approved for use since 1974. Since compulsory vaccination for smallpox ended in 1976, there is still little experience with it. Newer and more tolerable smallpox vaccines are only to be expected in the next few years.

www.rki.de - Robert Koch Institute in Berlin
www.cdc.gov - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA