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Minor shift in vaccine schedule has potential to reduce infant illness, death
Date:11/2/2008

years. Current recommendations also allow for administration of the first dose as early as 6 weeks of age, with the second and third doses at 3.5 months and 5.5 months.

The 2004 National Immunization Survey estimated that only 88 percent of infants had received one dose of DTaP vaccine by 3 months of age, 76 percent of infants had received two doses of DTaP vaccine by 5 months of age, and a mere 66 percent of infants had received the first three vital doses of DTaP vaccine by 7 months of age.

In this study, researchers sought to estimate the potential benefit of accelerating first dose administration from 2 months to 6 weeks of age.

"While two weeks may seem negligible, this change would reduce the time that a 2-month-old infant is completely without pertussis vaccine protection by 25 percent," Peters said. "Because pertussis so greatly threatens very young infants, the benefit of earlier vaccination may result in a significant decrease in severe pertussis disease nationally, and may be an especially useful approach during outbreaks of pertussis."

Researchers reviewed existing data to estimate current rates of pertussis infections, hospitalizations and deaths according to age and infant population in the United States in 2004. The data led researchers to expect that acceleration of the second and third doses by two weeks would prevent an additional 923 cases, 520 hospitalizations, and two deaths, according to the study.

Although administration of the first dose of the pertussis vaccine at 6 weeks of age is a change from the current routine practice of administration at 2 months, the minor dose acceleration falls within the current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics for the childhood vaccination schedule, and should have little impact on medical providers or on the number of outpatient physician visits for vaccines. All of the vaccines that are ro
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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