I care for elderly, post op or very sick patients. A patient could grab my arm and become infected. I would have to take a few weeks off work. No, for now I will not volunteer for it.
Care of the Vaccination Site: Don't touch the smallpox vaccination site. You may spread virus somewhere else, either on your body or somebody else's.
Don't touch a smallpox vaccination site. This is the best way to avoid spreading the virus. Frequent hand washing also helps prevent spreading virus in the event you touch the vaccination site by accident. An information sheet with detailed instructions about how to take care of the vaccination site will be provided to vaccine recipients.
If 1,000,000 people get smallpox vaccine, up to about 600 cases of auto-inoculation (also called accidental infection) can result when people touch their vaccination site and then transfer virus to their eyes, genitals, or other itchy places on their body.
Vaccinia virus can also be spread to others by touch. In the 1960s, the risk of spreading vaccinia virus to others (usually a household member) was about 30 per 1,000,000 vaccinations overall. Most cases of vaccinia caused by contact do not lead to serious illness. However, about 30% of such cases result in a severe skin infection in individuals who have eczema or other chronic skin problems.
Until the vaccination scab falls off, avoid close or household contact with people who are exempt from getting smallpox vaccine themselves. Do not share sleeping space (eg. bed, bunk, cot) with these people. Do not share clothes, towels, linen, or toiletries either. Occupational settings (eg. vehicles, tanks, aircraft) are not affected, if the vaccine from site is simply covered with a Band Aid and a sleeve.
Today, there are many people in the community living with problems to their immune systems. Follow instructions about caring for your vaccination site to minimize the chance of spreading vaccinia virus to someone else.
The risk of severe complications after smallpox vaccination for people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is not known. At present, there is no evidence that smallpox vaccination accelerates the progression of HIV-related disease. Nevertheless, until additional information becomes available, it is prudent that people who have HIV infection not be vaccinated, except in an emergency.