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Yes, if you're vaccinated against smallpox, you have some protection against monkeypox

The CDC says smallpox vaccinations offer at least 85% protection. There is no protection from monkeypox with the chickenpox vaccine.

SAN DIEGO — Monkeypox is spreading across the globe including the United States. As of mid-June, there are at least two cases in San Diego County. Doctors say we shouldn't panic and that Monkeypox is mostly spread through contact with bodily fluids, sores from someone with monkeypox or shared items like clothes and bedding that have been contaminated with fluids from sores of a person with monkeypox. But, as with any resurgence of an older virus, questions remain.


Does my smallpox vaccination protect against monkeypox?

Does my chicken pox vaccine protect against monkeypox?


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. David “Davey” Smith, Head of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego

Dr. Edward Cachay, Professor of Clinical Medicine at UC San Diego


This is true.

Yes, your smallpox vaccination offers protection against monkeypox.


Dr. “Davey” Smith tells CBS 8, "It does look like if you've had the small pox vaccine before you're really protected against monkey pox."

The CDC addresses the smallpox vaccine's efficacy against monkeypox on it's website. The CDC says online that the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. So, if you've been vaccinated against monkeypox, that's good to know that an old vaccine is working in your favor right now. The smallpox vaccine was no longer distributed after 1972, so if you're younger than that, chances are you didn't get it.

When it comes to the chickenpox vaccine, Dr. Edward Cachay says of its’ efficacy against monkeypox, "It’s not really effective. Although, it's very important to prevent complications against chicken pox." Dr. Davey Smith adds of the chickenpox vaccine for monkeypox, "They are really different viruses and there are just not enough similarities that the vaccine would work the same."

So there you have it, we can verify: The smallpox vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox. The chickenpox vaccine is not.

If you have something you want verified, email us at verify@cbs8.com.

Watch Related: Two probable cases of Monkeypox identified in San Diego County (Jun 15, 2022)

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