ACIP Recommendations for Smallpox Vaccinations

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends:

  • Hospitals should establish at least two smallpox health care teams to ensure adequate care.
  • Health care workers involved in direct patient care should keep their vaccination sites covered with gauze or similar absorbent material in order to absorb exudates that would develop.
  • Health care workers should keep the vaccination site covered, [outside of] direct patient care, until the scab separates. Vaccinia, which is a live virus mutant smallpox vaccine, can be transmitted by direct person-to-person contact, and steps need to be taken to reduce this likelihood.
  • Health care workers do not need to be placed on leave because they receive smallpox vaccination unless they are physically unable to work due to systemic signs and symptoms of illness, or if they do not adhere to the recommended infection control precautions.

Source: John Modlin, MD, Chair, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Atlanta. Oct. 17, 2002.