San Antonio

Verify: Yes, the childhood smallpox vaccine will provide some protection against monkeypox

Not all people is eligible to get the monkeypox vaccine.

SAN ANTONIO — The monkeypox virus continues to make headlines round the world and in South Texas. In this Verify we check out the virus and whether or not a earlier vaccine many might have acquired for a special illness may hold you from contracting monkeypox. The United States stopped giving the vaccine in giant scale numbers in 1972 when the illness turned largely eradicated.


The question comes from viewer Diane Horn of San Antonio requested, “If you received the childhood smallpox vaccine, will that provide protection against monkeypox?”

  • Dr. Jason Bowling, University Health
  • Miguel Cervantes, San Antonio Metro Health
  • The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention



Dr. Jason Bowling, who’s an infectious illness specialist with University Health and Professor of Infectious Diseases with UT Health San Antonio informed us, “There’s probably some protection, but it really depends on how long ago you had that smallpox vaccine, and then what your immune system looks like, and how old you are. So there’s a couple of factors, but there’s probably some residual protection.” 

On the CDC web site it says, “Because monkeypox virus is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting monkeypox. Past data from Africa suggests that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.” 

Miguel Cervantes, a Public Health Administrator with San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health Distrtict, stresses anybody can get monkeypox however it’s primarily based on conduct. He informed us, “While at the moment the majority of the people being affected by this virus are males who’ve intercourse with males, that doesn’t imply that the virus can not have an effect on different people as properly.  

So sure, it’s true. If you acquired the childhood smallpox vaccine it will provide some protection against monkeypox.

“But not everyone is eligible or needs the vaccine. For a list of groups that meet the criteria to receive the monkeypox vaccine, and how to register to get one check out Metro Health’s monkeypox virus data web page.

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