Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Statement on Smallpox Preparedness and Vaccination


The ACIP reiterates that it is critical for smallpox preparedness planning, within the context of broader terrorism and emergency response planning, to continue at the federal, state and local levels.

Preparedness efforts must include surveillance for early detection of possible smallpox cases, procedures to investigate possible smallpox cases and to institute immediate control measures to contain disease, plans at the hospital, community and regional level to provide for the care of smallpox cases in the event of an outbreak, and plans for mass vaccination of large population groups up to the entire population in a short period of time. Critical activities must include training of public health and health care response teams as well as personnel who would staff mass vaccination clinics, educational materials directed at many groups including the general public, development of laboratory capacity, formation of stockpiles of vaccines and necessary supplies and equipment, conducting drills and exercises, and, in the context of such plans and activities, smallpox vaccination to establish and maintain health care and public health response teams necessary for state and local preparedness.

At this time, the ACIP feels it is unwise to expand beyond its current, pre-event smallpox vaccination recommendations because of the new and unanticipated safety concerns, i.e. myo/pericarditis, whose extent and severity, particularly of long term sequelae, are not yet known.

Any smallpox vaccination that occurs should be carried out only within the context of the currently recommended response teams and state and local response plans, and should be administered according to currently recommended vaccination procedures and protocols.