The possible reemergence of smallpox through bioterrorism requires the preparation of adequate stockpiles of vaccine. Dryvax, the only US-licensed vaccinia virus smallpox vaccine, has an unacceptable safety profile in the pre-event setting. LC16m8 is a Japanese-licensed attenuated vaccinia virus strain that has been safely used in over 50,000 persons. Until now, efficacy of this vaccine was unproven. Using two animal models, we show that LC16m8 and Dryvax elicit comparable humoral immune responses after a single vaccination and equivalently protect against lethal poxvirus disease. Thus, LC16m8 shows promise as a safe and effective smallpox vaccine with the potential for replacing Dryvax.