Vaccine Update August 1999. Part 2

by on Nov.17, 2011, under Prescription Drug

Hepatitis A

Not yet widely used but this vaccine is safe in young children and can be given to infants at risk for hepatitis A. This type of hepatitis is actually more common than hepatitis B which your newborns are already getting vaccinated against.


A new vaccine out this past Spring has been approved for ages 15 and older for the prevention of Lyme Disease. Not as effective as hoped for, the vaccine is given in 3 parts, the first two shots given one month apart. So far evidence indicates that younger children have an even better response to the vaccine than adults and FDA approval for children over age 4 is pending the completion of this investigation. It’s possible children will only need 2 doses to get the same protection as 3 doses in adolescence and adulthood. With only local pain as a side effect it is a welcome addition to our vaccination arsenal. Concern regarding subsequent confusion in testing for Lyme disease is unfounded as the vaccine antibodies are clearly different from the antibodies looked for in cases of suspected disease.

Other concerns regarding autoimmune disorders have similarly been investigated and ruled out. Too bad the vaccine doesn’t do better than about 80% effectiveness even after the third dose. Keep checking daily for ticks and remove them carefully.


Last Spring we thought we had another infant illness licked with the new Rotavirus vaccine, given in 3 oral doses 2 months apart at 2, 4, and 6 months. Unfortunately recent statistics suggest that the vaccine may predispose the recipient to a kind of intestinal obstruction called intussusception and we are currently holding on giving further dosages pending settlement of this issue.

The rotavirus infection accounts for most infant hospitalizations as a result of severe dehydration in the first year of life.


In response to last years college outbreaks of meningitis in dorming students, there has been renewed interest in a vaccine that has been around for some time. It is called MENOMUNE – A/C/Y/W-135. It is effective against a specific form of meningitis only , the culprit in the young adult outbreaks, Neisseria meningitidis. The incidence of this disease peaks in late winter and early spring and the fatality rate is 13% despite therapy with penicillin. The vaccine has no serious side effects although local irritation as with any vaccine can occur. It is believed to be effective after one dose and protection lasts approximately for 3 years. Protection occurs within 7-10 days from injection so it’s use in epidemics is often too late. The vaccine has been used extensively for special groups like the army, individuals with immune disorders of certain types, travelers and people lacking a functional spleen. Recently gathered statistics show that students living in dorms have an increased risk of getting meningitis of this kind when compared to students at the same institution who live off campus. It is not effective under the age of 2 years and it’s effectiveness increases with the age of the recipient making college entrants a prime eligible group. I see no down sides to this and recommend vaccinating students after high school who are army or college bound (the army takes care of itself on this matter – schools mostly don’t require this so you have to request it).


This widely used preservative has recently been hauled under inspection as degrading into a potentially toxic mercury product that may be harmful to young infants. So far all data indicate the derivative is not harmful in the quantities that are used and there is practically no data available on the toxicity of this derivative in the infancy period (as opposed to the known toxicity of mercury in fetal development).

However, in order to respond to public concerns, vaccines containing thimerosal preservative will be delayed until the situation is clarified. The major effect this will have will be on the Hepatitis B vaccination schedule. It is recommended that high risk infants receive the Merck product Recombivax which is thimerosal-free or the combination vaccine COMVAX (also Merck) that is not only thimerosal-free but also contains HIB, saving your infant from 3 more injections.

Thank to our great range of safe, cheap prescription drugs, you are certain to obtain exactly what you’re looking for in health medications.

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