CDC Panel Recommends Hepatitis A, Whooping Cough Vaccinations
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday unanimously recommended to CDC that all U.S. children between the ages of one and two receive hepatitis A vaccinations and that all adults ages 19 to 65 receive booster shots for whooping cough, the New York Times reports (Altman, New York Times, 10/27). Hepatitis A affects the liver and can cause fever, diarrhea and jaundice. Children account for 25% of all hepatitis A cases.
Since 1999, CDC has recommended that children in 17 states where rates of the disease are highest receive the Hepatitis A vaccine, but officials said the progress made with those campaigns has slowed, raising concerns that there could be a resurgence of cases. To address the issue, the panel recommended a two-dose vaccine for children in all states, a move that could prevent 100,000 cases of hepatitis A and 20 deaths annually in the lifetimes of children vaccinated in one year.
The expansion would increase annual hepatitis A vaccination costs from $22 million to $134 million (Stobbe, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 10/27).
In addition, the panel recommended that older children not vaccinated against hepatitis A receive shots in a "catch-up" plan.
The panel also recommended that U.S. adults receive a booster shot for whooping cough, or pertussis, 10 years after their last shot against the disease. The booster can be added to the tetanus-diphtheria booster that adults receive; in June, FDA approved a combined pertussis-tetanus-diphtheria shot for adults.
The panel made the recommendation to decrease the possibility that adults transmit pertussis to infants who are too young to receive the immunization or have not yet received the complete series of vaccines. Whooping cough can be fatal for infants.
Currently, children receive a series of five shots beginning when they are two months old and ending when they reach preschool to protect against the illness. ACIP's recommendations are not binding, but CDC usually adopts them (New York Times, 10/27).