smallpox vaccination?

ryan at ryan at
Mon Jun 26 13:34:55 EST 1995

In article <3sethi$2ij at>, york at (Ian A. York) writes:
> In article <3senp0$n2l at> Mark Jude Hyman <mh691292> writes:
>>I've been looking into this too, as I'm starting work on some vaccinia
>>expression systems. CDC is the only source, and they have their guidelines in
>>MMWR Vol. 40 (No. RR-14), December 13, 1991. That gives you the contacts at CDC
>>as well as all of their cautionary info, most of which Kevin mentioned.
> I'm not sure what the official guidelines are, but I understood that here 
> at the Dana-Farber there was concern that the vaccination might be as 
> dangerous as working with vaccinia unvaccinated would be.  The eventual 
> conclusion, I think, was that unvaccinated people did not require 
> vaccination to work with the vector.  (I'm already vaccinated, so I 
> didn't pay close attention to the discussion, but that seems to be the 
> gist of it.)  So you may want to check very carefully with your local 
> safety office on recommendations.
> Ian
> -- 
> Ian York   (york at
> Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney St., Boston MA 02115
> Phone (617)-632-3921     Fax  (617)-632-2627

You make a good point, Ian. Vaccination at least involves some inconvenience,
and possibly some risk to family members at home during the time the vaccinee
is shedding live virus. Vaccinees having regular contact with pregnant
individuals should be advised of the possibility of transmission.

You're also right that unimmunized folks _can_ work with vaccinia virus.
The decision to immunize on an institution-wide basis is more of a legal (read,
liability) decision than a bio/medical one. Given the existence of CDC
guidelines prescribing vaccination, the administrative path of least resistance
is to require compliance with those guidelines. If I were working alone and the
vaccination decision were mine to make, I would prefer to rely on laminar flow
and flawless technique for effective containment. But since the lab includes
several people, and since we all live with administrative rules, I admit the 
hospital policy to vaccinate does make my life simpler: when new people start 
in the lab, they get the shot.

	Kevin W. Ryan
	Department of Virology & Molecular Biology
	St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
	Memphis, Tennessee 38101-0318, U.S.A.
	phone: (901) 522-0411
	fax:   (901) 523-2622
	Internet: ryan at

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