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Vaccine News Roundup


René F. Najera, DrPH

October 5, 2018

Every week, we trawl the different news services for anything related to vaccines, vaccine science, and vaccine-preventable diseases. Here is a quick synthesis of some of most notable news. (All from reliable sources.)

Zimbabwe is trying to bring under control through the use of vaccination. According to The Telegraph, about 9,000 people have been infected and 49 died, with about 20% of those who died being children under the age of five.

"Zimbabwe’s swift response to the outbreak, marked by the provision of clean water in Harare’s slums, a drive to promote hygiene and the establishment of treatment centres, has won praise from donors. With plans to administer 1.4 million cholera vaccinations by the end of next week, sourced from a global stockpile by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, hopes are rising that Zimbabwe can avoid a repeat of the calamitous outbreak that killed more than 4,000 people and infected nearly 100,000 in 2008 and 2009."

The Rockland County Health Department (New York) is offering measles vaccine to anyone interested in receiving it after a confirmed

"The health department listed the Bais Medrash Synagogue in New Square and the sukkah near the Avir Yakov Boys’ School as potential exposure sites. It said people who were at the synagogue between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday may have been exposed. Those at the sukkah near the boys school may have been exposed from noon to 4 p.m. Friday and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the department said."

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded jointly to Dr. Frances Arnold (half the prize) and Drs. George Smith and Gregory Winter (the other half of the prize). Dr. Smith is a researcher at the University of Missouri. His research into bacteriophages is said to take "vaccine development into the future."

"Smith proved this method, which would be come to known as phage display. Three years later, he improved the technology and suggested the process could aid in vaccine development and work for almost any antibody. Other groups began using phage display, including Greg Winter of MRC molecular biology lab in Cambridge, England, another researcher who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Winter and his team developed pharmaceuticals that, through antibodies, have produced treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Other pharmaceuticals produced by the company neutralize the bacterial toxin that causes anthrax, and another pharmaceutical can be prescribed to slow the advance of lupus."

At a time when low vaccination rates against measles are leading to , England is reporting a decline in the uptake of measles vaccine, according to The Guardian.

”Experts have said the impact of this is already playing out, with an ongoing measles outbreak in England. So far this year 876 cases have been confirmed, more than three times the number for the whole of 2017. They said the figures painted a concerning picture and that a continuing downward trend in immunisations for children could prompt the spread of harmful diseases within communities. Data from NHS Digital revealed the proportion of children receiving the MMR vaccine by the age of two fell to 91.2% in England in 2017-18, from 91.6% the year before."

Finally, the Lexington (Kentucky) County Health Department is recommending the to its residents. This is after a statewide outbreak of the disease has been declared in Kentucky.

”Lexington now has 24 cases related to the statewide outbreak, which is up to more than 1,850 across Kentucky with 89 counties affected. There have been 14 deaths associated with the outbreak, and 56 percent of the cases involved hospitalization. In September, Lexington had 13 confirmed cases in the statewide outbreak, a significant growth from the previous months. “The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh. “The vaccine is effective and has an excellent track record. However, most adults have not yet been immunized since the vaccine was not given routinely as part of their childhood schedule of shots.” It is now required for all children who attend school or child care in Kentucky. The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses six months apart and is available from some medical providers and many pharmacies in Lexington and is covered by most insurance plans."

Quick links:

  • (Opinion by Wayne Koff, President and Chief Executive of the Human Vaccines Project)

That is all for this week's news update. If you have any vaccine news of your own, please make sure to share them in the comments.


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