Information for People Selected for Smallpox Response Teams
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In December 2002, President Bush initiated a national preparedness program to protect Americans against smallpox as a biological weapon. Communities have been asked to form smallpox preparedness teams that are ready to respond to a smallpox attack on our country. If you have been asked to be a member of a smallpox response team, you must now decide whether to participate in this effort and receive the vaccination in order to protect others. This decision must be weighed carefully.
As you consider your participation on a smallpox preparedness team, please read the materials provided on this page.
NOTE: A copy of the Smallpox Pre-Vaccination Information Packet is provided to everyone selected for response teams. Anyone considering the vaccine should consult the resources in this packet.
What You Need to Know About the Smallpox Vaccine
Learn about smallpox disease and about the benefits and risks of the smallpox vaccine.
Deciding If You Should Get the Smallpox Vaccine
The following resources can assist you with determining if you should not receive the smallpox vaccine due to certain medical conditions.
- Video: Decision Point for the Smallpox Vaccine Candidate
- Pre-Event Screening Worksheet for Smallpox Vaccine PDF (145 KB/7 pages)
What People Close to You Need to Know
If you are considering the vaccination, there are things that your close, physical contacts (your spouse, partner or other member of your household) should know. This fact sheet, designed for your close contacts, describes health conditions that put people at high risk and provides information about the steps that close contacts can take to protect themselves.
What Happens After Vaccination
- What to Do After You’ve Gotten the Smallpox Vaccine
- Side Effects of Vaccination
- Drugs used to treat reactions to the smallpox vaccine:
More Vaccination Information
Many other resources are available on the CDC website, including the following:
CDC Interim Guidance for Revaccination
Interim Guidance for Revaccination of Eligible Persons who Participated in the US Civilian Smallpox Preparedness and Response Program (October 2008)
- Webcast: Smallpox Preparedness: Considerations for Response Team Volunteers
- Smallpox Vaccination Information & Resources
- What Everyone Should Know About Smallpox Disease
- What Everyone Should Know About Smallpox Vaccine
Questions and Answers for Prospective Vaccinees
Answers to questions about smallpox disease and smallpox vaccine:
- FAQ About Smallpox Vaccine
- Contraindications and Screening
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Pre-Event Vaccination
More resources for preparing for a smallpox emergency can be found on the Smallpox Preparation and Planning page.
- Page last reviewed January 30, 2009
Page last updated April 16, 2016
- Content source: National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)