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Shot scar from when I was young

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
This is just curiosity. I have a scar like thing, well looks like a circle that is depressed on upper arm. Anyone who had this shot gets it. My mom doesn't remember what it was for. For some reason it always freaks me out that a shot can leave you scarred like that for life. Does anyone know what shot it was that does this? I got it around the late 70's.
post #2 of 19
Sounds like the smallpox vaccination scar. It wasn't a shot, but multiple pokes or scratches with a needle. That is what leaves the scar.

I have one, too, but from the early 60's!
post #3 of 19
yup, smallpox. In the early 70's (born in 70/71), about half of my friends had them and half of us didn't - it was being phased out. So the late 70's is getting kind of old fashioned...maybe you had a very traditional pediatrician?
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
yuck smallpox. Well maybe it was earlier than the late 70's. I'm relyin on my mom who has a hard time remembering how old I am. I was born in 71.

post #5 of 19
My parents have those scars too......they were given them when they were in school. They were class of 78 but I think they got them in middle school which would be around that 71 time frame too.
post #6 of 19
Yep. My husband has this from a smallpox vaccine that he was given in India in 1973. He had no idea until his mom told him when we were discussing not vaxing our son. He was shocked to learn he had the smallpox shot.
post #7 of 19
ack! my mom always told me that scar was from the TB test! ack!
post #8 of 19
I am looking for a photo, but so far I can only find a recently vaccinated photo:


I was always a fan of my Mom's scar as a kid!

Here is one but it is distant:

post #9 of 19

My mother has it, too. And it must have gotten infected because it is huge and irregular and sticks out in places like a burn mark. Mine is very small by comparison. She remembers having an infected arm for a long time that she could hardly use. That's why I'm surprised she still had it given to me.
post #10 of 19
ack! my mom always told me that scar was from the TB test! ack!
Actually, the TB vaccine does leave a scar on the arm similar to the small pox vax.
My DD was born in Mexico and this was one of the vaxes they wanted to give her. Apparently, it is injected into the arm just like any other vax but over time the areas scabs and the scar forms. Yuck!
When I returned to the states, I asked a dr. why the TB vax is not customarily given here and she said that it makes it difficult to decipher whether or not you have actually been exposed or if a tb test came up positive bc of the antibodies due to the vax or if there was actual exposure to the illness. Anyways...I digress.
So Minxin, your scar could actually be from the TB vax.
post #11 of 19
I have that.. mine is from the TB shot. I was born up near the Arctic Circle in '76. I used to live in Japan and everyone has the same scar there from TB shots when they are .. two or three I think.
post #12 of 19
I have it. Born in the Uk in 1971. I always thought it was TB too.
post #13 of 19
I've got one too, but its not smallpox.

they did that on the leg, or the inside of the arm.

Yours won't be what mine is, though. Mine's BCG. They never used that in the states.

(And get this, where they did use it, they credit the BCG vaccine for the eradication of TB How come USA's rate went down the same as everyone elses? )
post #14 of 19
If you are truly wanting to know, have your family doctor run a titer test(might be spelled wrong). It's a blood test that measures antibodies specific for a vacc determination.

Routinely pregnant woman are screened for rubella with a titer test.
post #15 of 19
(And get this, where they did use it, they credit the BCG vaccine for the eradication of TB How come USA's rate went down the same as everyone elses? )Momtezuma Tuatara
Yeah, that is what got me confused about the docs. response about TB vaccination. Other than being symptomatic for the disease wouldn't vaxes for other diseases give false positives if they wanted to test somebody for it(does that make sense?) What is the logic of not doing a TB vax for this the reason of false positives on titer tests but all other vaxes are good to go?

And, by choosing not to give the vax for TB, isn't the CDC saying in theory that there is no need to give it bc improved health/sanitation conditions have made it unnecessary. Why apply to TB and not to Polio for example?

Although I don't agree with it, I can understand why there is such a push for the TB vaccine in the area where my DD was born. The population is largely rural and VERY poor, so it is a big breeding ground for TB. The TB rates for the state in one year were equal to that of the whole of the U.S. for the same time period.
post #16 of 19
Sounds like just what all my 1968/69-born friends have on their upper arms, it's where they were giving the smallpox vaccinations. Just before phasing them out.

I got the shot as well, but not on my arm. My mom had the joy of watching the doctor (not my regular doctor) take me from her, and inject me right over my spine. At about the 5th and 6th thoracic vertebrae level...well, that's where the scar is NOW. Who knows where the injection site was when I was a FEW MONTHS OLD...

yep, my dad was thinking of us moving to Vancouver, BC after I was born, and I guess the doc thought that Canada was just some HUGE hotspot for smallpox, and he injected me.

My mom said she just sat there with her mouth wide open for a moment, then grabbed me out of his arms and left the office, sobbing.

And, to this day, that area is really sensitive for me. The scar is HUGE (compared to the scar on an arm; think of how much more a back grows than an arm) and it's just not "sound" in that area.


Sorry to hijack.
post #17 of 19
I have one, on my thigh. My cousins have them on the upper arms. I always thought they were the TB vaccine. I'll have to ask my mom. (I was born in '63, in Ontario, Canada.)
post #18 of 19
My mom (born in 55) has one too from smallpox.
post #19 of 19

I was given my smallpox vaccination in the middle of my back too.  I was born in '62 in the US.  They were trying to make it so that it wasn't so disfiguring but after a few years they decided that by the time the patient had grown to adult size, the scar would be even bigger than it on the arm so they went back to giving it in the arm.  I also received a DPT (Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis) vaccination at another time but it left no such scar as it was just a regular syringe.  All of these were required before a child could attend public school as well as Measles/Mumps/Rubella and let's not forget the Polio vaccine.

When I was young, there were a lot of adults with polio still living.  Thank God for modern medicine and the fact that most of us have outlived all of these horrible preventable diseases.

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