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Most vaccine-allergic children can still be safely vaccinated, Hopkins experts say
Date:9/1/2008

With close monitoring and a few standard precautions, nearly all children with known or suspected vaccine allergies can be safely immunized, according to a team of vaccine safety experts led by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Writing in the September issue of Pediatrics, the multicenter research team offers pediatricians a step-by-step tool for quickly identifying children with allergic reactions to vaccines, and a much-needed guide, they say, to safely immunize those who are allergic.

Serious allergic reactions to vaccines are extremely rare - one or two per million vaccinations, according to some estimates - but when they happen, such episodes can be serious, even life-threatening, making it critical for pediatricians to instantly spot true allergic reactions and differentiate them from more benign nonallergic responses, investigators say. It is also crucial that pediatricians design a safe immunization plan for children with confirmed vaccine allergies. Children who have had one allergic reaction are believed to be at a higher risk for future reactions, typically more serious than the first.

"We cannot reiterate enough that the vaccines used today are extremely safe, but in a handful of children certain vaccine ingredients can trigger serious allergic reactions," says Robert Wood, M.D., lead author on the paper and chief of pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Hopkins Children's. "For the most part, even children with known allergies can be safely vaccinated."

Given recent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable infections like measles, mumps and whooping cough in the United States, and measles and polio overseas, it is essential to safely vaccinate as many children as possible, investigators say.

Combing through available evidence on vaccine safety and allergies, the Hopkins-led team developed a sequence of instructions - an algorithm - that prompts physicians one step at a time on how to evaluate and immunize child
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Contact: Katerina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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