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Chicken Pox vaccine

Joel Funk funkc at bcc.orst.edu
Thu Apr 20 13:54:30 EST 1995


In article <funkc-190495152617 at rohrmann-1073b-a.als.orst.edu>,
funkc at bcc.orst.edu (Joel Funk) wrote:

> Does anyone have information about the Chicken Pox vaccine due to be
> released?  When will it be available and which company is producing and
> distributing it?

I just found the answer to my own question on the web (at HEALTH EXPLORER a
forum provided by the Health Care Professionals at U.T. Houston:
http://hyrax.med.uth.tmc.edu/ptnt/tocptnt.htm).   
 
In an entry dated Mar. 17 they note:

A vaccine for chickenpox will soon be available for immunization which is
70 to 90 percent effective in preventing people from getting the disease.
Those individuals who do develop the disease after immunization will have a
milder case than non-immunized individuals. The vaccine should be available
to physicians in about eight weeks and will be integrated into immunization
schedules for children. The vaccine is being recomended as a single shot
for children ages 12 months to 12 years who have not had the disease. Ages
13 to adult who have not had chicken pox should receive two doses four to
eight weeks apart. Infants under the age of one cannot receive the vaccine,
but their exposure to the disease should be minimized as older children are
vaccinated.

The vaccine was more than a decade in development by Merck and the company
has spent two years to prove to the FDA that the vaccine was safe and the
effect was durable. The vaccine was tested on 9,545 healthy children and 1,
648 teenagers and adults. There are several unanswered questions about the
vaccine, including:

     -How long it protects against chicken pox and whether booster shots
     will be required to keep immunity.
     -If the vaccine will have any beneficial effect for older adults in
the
     prevention of shingles. Shingles results when an adult loses their
     immunity to the varicella zoster virus. It appears as a rash with
     painful blister like qualities generally in one area of the body.



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