Eczema and smallpox


Jan 30, 2018
a quick question for any people with a medical background:

I have heard of a sometimes fatal condition if someone with eczema gets the smallpox vaccine. I understand that’s one of the reasons eczema is a disqualifying condition.

My question is: if you have had the smallpox vaccine before, does that mean you won’t get the fatal condition if you get the vaccine again?

Also, does the navy still administer smallpox vaccine?

Are you sure you’ve actually had the smallpox vaccine before? Unless you were born outside the U.S. it’s unlikely you have ever had that vaccine. The military vaccinates based on need: if you are going to an area with a risk of smallpox exposure then you would either be vaccinated or exempted based on your medical history.

And no, prior experience does not necessarily reflect future experience. The reaction between eczema and smallpox is rarely fatal and more related to self inoculation outside the vaccine site.
I’ve heard though that if you have eczema documented in your history, and waived during your DoDMERB (presumably), then it’s pretty easy to get waived for the vaccine. However I’m deploying soon and they didn’t make me get the smallpox vaccine at all...just anthrax and typhoid.