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Why Some Vaccines May Require A Booster
Date:11/27/2009

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Preventing disease is the goal of every health care provider and fortunately every year, new vaccines are being added to assist in disease prevention. But do all vaccines boost immunity for the same period of time? And, if not, when are additional 'booster shots' needed to keep immunity strong?

In this month's issue of Pediatrics, the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michael Pichichero MD, Director of the Rochester General Research Institute, based at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester NY, studies the medical necessity for occasional booster shots to sustain immunity.

It is a well known medical fact that a booster shot for tetanus is needed every 10 years to maintain your immunity. But, what happens if you fail to get that booster? "Fortunately, a patient has a window of opportunity to get a booster shot even after getting a dirty wound," said Dr. Pichichero. "In this case, the booster shot will take hold before the tetanus infection can establish itself. The problem is that this scenario is not true for all diseases."

In his published study, Dr. Pichichero, an international authority on vaccines and vaccine-induced memory, discusses the effectiveness of booster vaccinations and disease progression. "We found that for slow moving infections like hepatitis, immune memory is activated within plenty of time to prevent the disease after a person has been vaccinated and booster vaccines are not needed" said Dr. Pichichero. "Other examples of vaccines that do not appear to require boosters because the pace of disease progression is slow include: polio, measles, mumps, and German measles."

Dr. Pichichero Study

The study found, however, that there are several newer vaccines that may require booster shots to remain effective during a lifetime, including vaccines for diphtheria, all three types of spinal meningitis caused by ba
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