Posts Tagged ‘vaccine’

Whooping cough on the rise

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

coughingWhooping cough, also called pertussis, is on the rise, even among people who have been vaccinated. In the past year, cases in California have increased seven-fold, with 2,774 confirmed cases. Outbreaks have also occurred in New York, South Carolina and Michigan.

No one really knows why the disease is increasing, but we do know that the vaccine is not 100% effecive. If whooping cough is circulating in a community, it’s possible for a vaccinated person to get the disease.

The effectieness of the vaccine fades over time. So adolescents and adults may need to be revaccinated; check with your health care provider.

Because some of the symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a cold, it may take a while for a person to realize it’s more than a cold. But after 1-2 weeks, severe coughing begins.   

Infants and children who have the disease cough often and violently; they inhale with a loud “whooping sound.” Whooping cough is most severe in babies.

To learn more, go to the Sounds of Pertussis Web site. The U.S  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has helpful information.

Temporary suspension: Rotarix vaccine

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

lab-glassYoung children are routinely vaccinated against rotavirus disease to help prevent severe diarrhea and dehydration. Before the vaccine, tens of thousands of children in the United States were hospitalized ever year with rotavirus disease; some of them died.

The trade names for the rotavirus vaccine are Rotarix and RotaTeq. These two forms of the vaccine are made by different companies.

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked health providers to temporarily stop using Rotarix. Pieces of a virus called PCV1 have been found in Rotarix.

The FDA stressed that there is no evidence that these virus fragments pose a safety risk. But the agency wants to be cautious and do additional research to be sure.

If your child has received Rotarix, don’t be alarmed. He or she doesn’t need any special follow-up medical care. But if you have questions, call your child’s health care provider.

Reseachers have not found any traces of virus in  RotaTeq, the second form of vaccine against rotavirus disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be vaccinated against rotavirus. So for now, RotaTeq is the vaccine to be used.

National Flu Vaccination Week: It’s not too late to get your shots

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

flu-vac-week-2010Most pregnant women should be sure to get two flu shots this year: one for regular seasonal flu and one for the new H1N1 flu (also called swine flu). It’s not too late. Most health care providers now have plenty of vaccine.

Flu season isn’t over yet, so don’t wait. Flu can be very serious for pregnant women and the babies they are carrying. High fever is especially dangerous for a developing fetus. So get your shots right away.

And if you’re already a mom, check with your child’s health care provider. Most children should be vaccinated against seasonal and H1N1 flu.

For more info, watch the March of Dimes video on flu and pregnancy.

Mumps outbreak

Friday, November 20th, 2009

When was the last time you ever heard of someone getting the mumps? While most of us can say it’s been a while (if not, never), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting the largest outbreak of mumps in three years. Most of these outbreaks took place in New York and New Jersey.

Friendly reminder – the best way to protect kids from getting the mumps is by getting kids vaccinated. The combination measles-mumps-rubella immunization helps protect kids against these illnesses, which are less common thanks to the large number of kids and people who’ve been vaccinated over the years. Women who aren’t sure if they’ve been vaccinated against the mumps can also talk to their health providers about getting this vaccine before getting pregnant (this vaccine cannot be given during pregnancy). It’s important that the immunization rates in our population stay at high levels to avoid the opportunity for this and other diseases to return with full force.

Learn more about other important immunizations for your child.

Is there thimerosal in the H1N1 vaccine?

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

vaccine1Some H1N1 flu vaccines have a preservative called thimerosal. Although some people have suggested a link between thimerosal and autism,  medical experts from the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) have thoroughly researched the issue and concluded that thimerosal-containing vaccines are NOT associated with autism. However, if you’re still concerned, a thimerosal-free version of the H1N1 vaccine is available.

The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines that FDA is licensing (approving) will be manufactured in several formulations. Some will come in multi-dose vials and will contain thimerosal as a preservative. Multi-dose vials of seasonal influenza vaccine also contain thimerosal to prevent potential contamination after the vial is opened.

Some vaccine manufacturers will be producing 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine in single-dose units, which will not require the use of thimerosal as a preservative. In addition, the live-attenuated version of the vaccine, which is administered intranasally (through the nose), is produced in single-units and will not contain thimerosal.  The nasal spray version, however, is not recommended for pregnant women.

Webcast for pregnant women and new moms: Swine flu

Monday, August 31st, 2009

woman-at-computerThe flu season will be here before you know it. Health experts believe the swine flu will be back along with the regular seasonal flu.

To help pregnant women and new moms learn more, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aired a Webcast last Thursday. It’s now archived on the CDC Web site.

By the way, swine flu is now also called H1N1 flu. And the vaccine is expected in October. Pregnant women are one of the top-priority groups for receiving the vaccine.  News Moms Need will let you know as soon as the vaccine is ready.

Also, pregnant women should be vaccinated against seasonal flu. That vaccine is already available. So if you’re pregnant, ask your health care provider about it now.

Swine flu oubreak may worsen in the fall

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Today the U.S. government reported that the outbreak of swine flu (also known as H1N1 flu) is continuing and may get worse in the fall.  Scientists are currently working on a vaccine, which may be ready in time for the fall flu season.

For more, read the March of Dimes article on swine flu. It includes information about this illness and pregnant women, infants, children and breastfeeding women.

Vaccine for the swine flu? Not yet

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Right now there is no vaccine for the swine flu that has been spreading in the United States and around the world. Because this is a new strain of the swine flu, there is currently no vaccine to prevent the disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is determining whether a vaccine can be produced in time to address the current disease.

A sad note: A young child in Texas has died from swine flu. All of us feel sympathy for the family. It is a tragic loss.

This child’s death reminds us that all types of flu can be very serious and even deadly. So please once again: Go go the CDC Web site and learn how you and your family can help prevent the spread of this disease.

Hib vaccine for babies: Don’t miss a dose

Friday, March 20th, 2009

babyIt’s important for babies to get three doses of the vaccine Hib. On March 18, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory reminding us about this.

Hib stands for Haemophilus influenzae Type B, a type of bacteria. Hib can cause pneumonia and meningitis (a serious infection of the brain and spinal cord). Meningitis can lead to brain damage and even death.

FYI: Hib is not what causes the disease we call the flu. It’s a different bug altogether.

The CDC has learned that five young children in Minnesota got Hib. One of them died. None of the children had received the recommended three doses of the vaccine. Three of the children had not received a single dose.

So check with your child’s health care provider today, and find out if your baby is up-to-date on his Hib vaccine.

The March of Dimes has an article on immunizations for your baby. CDC has more on Hib.

U.S. federal court: No link between vaccines and autism

Friday, February 13th, 2009

gavel-smYesterday, a U.S. federal court dismissed cases from parents who claimed that vaccinations caused their children’s autism. According to NBC Nightly News, “the parents failed to show that vaccinations played any role at all in causing autism.”

While some families still fear that there may be a connection between autism and vaccines, a large body of well-done research has found no link. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes all recommend that children be vaccinated.

While expressing concern for children with autism and their parents, the court said the research used to support the claims was severely inadequate. In the court’s view, the medical experts testifying for the parents were poorly qualified and lacked sufficient experience. In making its decision, the court reviewed over 5,000 pages of expert testimony and 939 medical articles.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and other organizations continue to support research to better understand the causes of autism. In a statement, DHHS said that it hoped the court’s decision “will help reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism.”

To see an earlier post and discussion on this topic, click here.