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Typical Smallpox Vaccine Reaction

Typical Smallpox Vaccine Reaction

Typical skin reaction at the site of a smallpox vaccine injection

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available online: http://www.bt.cdc.gov

The pictures show a typical reaction to the smallpox vaccine. First, a small bump (papule) forms at the vaccine site 3 to 5 days after vaccination. This becomes a pus-filled area (pustule) a few days later. The pustule dries up and then forms a scab by about 14 days after vaccination. The scab finally falls off at about 21 days after vaccination.

Current as of: February 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Christine Hahn, MD - Infectious Disease, Epidemiology

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