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In early January 2003, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) began smallpox vaccinations of selected U.S. military forces, and emergency-essential civilians and contractors deployed or deploying in support of U.S. Central Command missions.
Although the exact number has not been released, it is been stated to be multiple tens of thousands. As of January 31, overall, 3 percent of vaccinated personnel required sick leave (1 to 2 percent of re-vaccinees). Only two noteworthy cases have been reported: one case of encephalitis possibly linked to vaccination (the soldier is recovering), and one case of generalized vaccinia that did not require therapy or leave from work.