Given the media coverage, a climate of uncertainty, and fears of more terrorist attacks, it may sound smart to receive the smallpox vaccine. Medical experts, however, claim that even the possibility of a major bioterrorist attack in a highly populated area does not warrant a mass public vaccination now. Conventional methods of containing the smallpox disease, which involve isolating the ill and vaccinating close contacts, work well, and the vaccine can produce serious side effects. Even if exposure occurs, receiving the vaccine within a few days can prevent infection. Smallpox patients cannot infect others until a couple of weeks after infection. Bottom line: we have time and plenty of vaccine available should the worst-case scenario become a reality.
P.S. Since 1977, there have been no cases of smallpox reported anywhere in the world.