Would I have received the smallpox vaccine as a kid in the 1970s?

I was born in 1971 and lived in Indianapolis. I’m curious if they gave this to kids in the US at that time. I don’t have my immunization records from that time, so I can’t check that. Wikipedia isn’t very helpful on this matter, either.

I was born around the same time, and never received the smallpox vaccine.

My mother has a noticeable smallpox vaccine scar, though.

it think it was common until '72.


I received it in 1971 when I was 9 months old. So I guess it depends on when exactly the cutoff was.

I don’t have a visible scar, though I think I may have had a smaller one as a child. My mom has a visible scar from hers yet, however.

I got the vaccine in 1973, but it was being phased out by then.

But an easy way to answer this is to look at your arm. Do you have a scar?

Not everyone has a visible scar. I was born in 1967 in Indiana (Kokomo) and I got it, though I don’t remember what age. My brother has a very visible scar and got his at the same time, but I don’t have a scar. When I was little, I used to question my mom as to whether she just got him vaccinated and not me since I don’t have the scar.

I have no arm scar that I know of, hmm… Maybe my mom would know. It appears it’s possible I got it.

Look on the outer side of your left arm, about 4-5 inches down from your shoulder. You’ll probably need to use a mirror to see it. It’s a round speckly scar, about the size of a nickel.

As wombattver points out, even if you received the vaccine, you may not have a visible scar, or it may be extremely faint. So if you find one, your question is answered. If you don’t find one, you may still have been vaccinated.

I had mine in 1969 in order to go overseas, and have no scar.

I got it in the UK during the 1960s (or possibly late 1950s) some time. It was not routinely given then, though. This was because there was an actual outbreak of smallpox in Britain at the time. (I think it was quickly contained, though.) I actually got quite a nasty case of cowpox from the vaccine, and quite a bit of scarring on my arm.

I was born in 1969, Georgia USA, and didn’t get the vaccine. My brother (11 months my senior) had a really terrible reaction to the inoculation, so my mother delayed mine as long as possible, then the vaccine was dropped from the recommended routine shots. Woohoo!

No one (that I know of) born in the early 1970s (70, 71, 72) in MD has it. I almost had it a little while after 9/11 as part of vaccine test run by USAMRIID, and actually went there, but it fell through at the last minute (they didn’t need me after all - and I think there was a mix up on timing or something). I kinda thought it would be cool to have (and wanted to add it to my collection of vaccines I have gotten as a guinea pig).

Oddly enough - the only person I am aware of post 1970 that had the vaccine is a 30 year old Singaporean woman. I’m guessing she had it in the 80s. They must be super paranoid there - and she definitely has the scar type.

Born in 1971 on Long Island, NY.

I did get a smallpox vaccine but only because I went to Panama in 1976. It was definitely not routine in that place and time. FWIW, I don’t have a visible scar.

Not so easy. BCG for TB also leaves a scar, eg residents of asia who are old enough got two scars… younger only have one.

Vaccination probably means you would never be contagious, which means they wiped it out,
but vaccination 40 years ago still leaves you at 10% - 20% risk of to DEATH if you contracted the worst form.

I got it, it was part of the general package my brother and I had to get back in 1966 to enroll in school. I just don’t have the scar because I don’t scar for shit unless it is fairly serious. Really, I put a piece of sheet steel through my hand and you can barely see a thin centimeter or so long scar on the back of the hand, and nothing on the palm. I got lucky and missed all the tendons. Hands bleed like a son of a bitch! Almost as bad as a head injury.

mrAru makes up for it though, he has his from kindergarten and a second one from the Navy in 1983 :smiley:

My son was born in 1967 and was 6 weeks old when we brought him to the US. We had a latter (written in German, alas) from a doctor saying that because he had excema, it was inadvisable to vaccinate him. In those days, the had separate health, customs, and immigration rooms you went through when you got off the plane. We were carrying him in a small carrier that might have had anything in it. We presented the three vaccination cards (for my wife, my daughter, and myself) and I had the letter in hand. But he never noticed the baby in the carrier. My wife looked back as we left the room and she said he was looking at us quizzically, but he didn’t call us back and we sailed through customs and immigration with no problems.

I don’t know when they officially dropped the vaccination requirement for crossing the border, but by the late 60s smallpox had been essentially eradicated and it is unlikely that by 1972 you would have gotten it otherwise.

I (born in 1968) did, but my brother (born in October 1971) did not, IIRC.

Born late 1970 on Offut AFB in Nebraska. Moved to Turkey with my parents (Father was stationed overseas) in '71. I did not receive the smallpox vaccination.

I think by the early 70s, it was not a routine vaccination, though may have still been ‘common.’