NEWS SCAN: Rotavirus vaccine efforts, addressing vaccine myths

Apr 24, 2012

Rotavirus vaccine poised for big impact in developing countries
Rotavirus vaccination offers the promise of preventing severe disease and deadly diarrhea, especially in developing countries where treatment is scarce, according to a new supplement in Vaccine. The supplement contains 28 papers, including a host of research studies that address global perspectives, rotavirus in Africa, rotavirus in Asia, strain analysis, clinical issues, and intussusception. The supplement summarizes data on the performance of rotavirus vaccines and reinforces previous evidence that the vaccines are a safe, proven, cost-effective tool that can save children's lives, according to a EurekAlert press release. Among the findings detailed in the supplement are that speeding access to the vaccines in Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI)–eligible countries could prevent 2.4 million deaths by 2030. Another research team estimates that the vaccine currently prevents 180,000 deaths in developing countries, averts 6 million medical encounters, and saves $68 million in treatment costs. GAVI CEO Seth Berkley, MD, said in the press release that GAVI recently negotiated a new low price of $2.50 per vaccine dose, which will allow the group to provide vaccine to more than 40 of the poorest countries by 2016.
Apr 24 EurekAlert press release
April Vaccine supplement

Article offers guide for addressing myths about vaccine safety
In a perspective article designed to help primary care physicians, two Mayo Clinic experts recently took on what they consider three of the most common misconceptions about the safety of childhood vaccines. Writing in the April issue of Human Immunology, vaccinologist Gregory Poland, MD, and pediatrician Robert Jacobson, MD, said the three myths are that (1) babies' systems are not ready for the number of vaccines given today, (2) vaccines can cause autoimmune diseases, and (3) "natural immunity" is safer and better. The authors state that the amounts of antigen in current childhood vaccines are far lower than in the past, according to a Mayo press release. In addition, they write that a recent extensive review by the Institute of Medicine found no evidence of autoimmune side effects from vaccines and that, while natural immunity does provide some protection, the risk of illness and death is far higher without vaccines. "We want to offer a user-friendly guide for doctors, but also issue a call to action," Poland said in the release. "We can now show that children have died because of under-vaccination and that diseases have spread needlessly because of this trend." The release notes that Poland and Jacobson are involved in industry-funded vaccine trials in various capacities.
Apr 23 Mayo Clinic press release
April Hum Immunol abstract

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