In December 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Department of Defense Armed Forces Epidemiological Board formed a joint Smallpox Vaccine Safety Working Group (SVS WG) to provide independent safety oversight for smallpox vaccination safety-monitoring systems. From January 2003 through June 2004, the SVS WG reviewed individual and aggregate safety data on postvaccination adverse events. Serious adverse events were rare because of careful education, prevaccination screening, and strict attention to vaccination-site management. Recent vaccinees safely cared for high-risk patients, adhering to recommended site care. Human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals without severe immunosuppression had uncomplicated vaccination reactions. Epidemiological studies supported a causal relationship between myocarditis and/or pericarditis and smallpox vaccination. Data supported neutrality regarding hypothesized causal associations between vaccination and dilated cardiomyopathy or ischemic cardiac disease. The SVS WG concurs with recommendations to defer from vaccination any person with ≥3 ischemic cardiac disease risk factors.
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