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End of an era for smallpox vaccine

End of an era for smallpox vaccine

The government announced Friday that it has said goodbye to one of the world's greatest lifesavers - the oldest smallpox vaccine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made arrangements this month to dispose of the last of its 12-million doses of Dryvax, and notified other health departments and the military to do the same by Friday.

Dryvax - produced by scraping virus off the skin of infected calves - is being replaced in federal vaccine stockpiles by a more modern product manufactured in laboratories. Dryvax was unusually dangerous for a vaccine, blamed in recent years for triggering heart attacks and a painful heart inflammation in some patients.