Smallpox vaccine was the most important tool in the successful eradication of smallpox. In 1980, this achievement made it possible for all nations to cease smallpox vaccination. However, the threat of smallpox bioterrorism has made it necessary to reconsider the need for vaccination. Over the past 3 years, many nations have set up action plans for use in the event of such an attack. The setting up of these plans was not simple. Several factors needed to be considered, including the judgement of risk, vaccine complications, conventional vaccines versus new vaccines, optimal stockpile of smallpox vaccine, and its use for different target populations in different emergency situations. Here, I review measures taken by the USA, Japan, and other nations, and discuss likely national and global efforts in 2005 and subsequently, in view of the fact that half of the world's population is now apparently unvaccinated and that this proportion will increase with time.