Efficient leukocyte migration is important for an effective host response to viral infection and the development of adaptive immunity. The poxvirus strain modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a safe and efficient viral vector, rapidly induces chemokine expression and respiratory recruitment of leukocytes, which is unique among vaccinia viruses. In addition to chemokines, the complement system contributes to the attraction and activation of different types of leukocytes. Using a murine model of intranasal infection, we show in this study that MVA-induced neutrophil recruitment depends on complement component C5. Remarkably, we find that C5 mediates neutrophil recruitment to the lung, even in the absence of the central complement component C3. Our findings argue for complement C5 activation during MVA infection of the lung via a C3-independent pathway, which enables rapid recruitment of neutrophils.