Discontinuance of Routine Smallpox Vaccination

Mahfouz H. Zaki, MD, DPH
JAMA. 1972;221(13):1521. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200260055033.
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To the Editor.—  This letter is not intended to refute Public Health Service (PHS) recommendations which many workers in the field of preventive medicine, including myself, disagree with for several reasons, but rather to discuss flaws in our vaccination procedures.While spending my sabbatical year as Peace Corps Physician and Public Health Advisor in Afghanistan, I was faced with a situation where I had to examine the vaccination status of our volunteers and staff. The 3-year-old son of one of the Afghan employees in the Peace Corps office died of smallpox. I visited the employee's house to examine the child's body for evidence of smallpox, but the child had already been buried and he had not been seen by a physician prior to his death. The history and description of the rash, however, were suggestive of smallpox.It was safest to assume that the child died of smallpox and to


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