Who Should Not Get the Smallpox Vaccine?
People with skin problems are at risk of developing rashes which can be severe if they get the smallpox vaccine.
Anyone who has atopic dermatitis (eczema), or has had it in the past, should not get the smallpox vaccine.
Individuals who have Darier's disease (a skin disease that usually begins in childhood) should not get the smallpox vaccine, either.
Anyone who has a skin problem that has made many breaks in the skin should wait until the skin heals before getting the smallpox vaccine. This includes conditions such as:
- Allergic rashes
- Bad burns
- Pityriasis rosea
- Poison oak
- Poison ivy
- Severe acne.
Rarely, when a person with a weakened immune system gets the smallpox vaccine, the vaccination site does not heal. Instead, the virus spreads to other parts of the body. This reaction can be life-threatening. Anyone with a weakened immune system should not get the smallpox vaccine, including anyone who:
- Has HIV/AIDS, primary immune deficiency disorders, humoral (antibody) immunity problems (such as agammaglobulinemia or lack of normal antibodies), or other diseases that affect the immune system.
- Has leukemia, lymphoma, or another type of cancer.
- Has lupus or another severe autoimmune disease that weakens the immune system.
- Is receiving cancer treatment with radiation or drugs, or has received such treatment in the past 3 months.
- Is taking, or has recently taken, drugs that affect the immune system. These include high-dose steroids (for 2 weeks or longer within the past month), some drugs for treating autoimmune disease, or drugs taken for an organ or bone marrow transplant.