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Children's Vaccines Health Center

Measles Vaccine Spray Could Boost Developing Countries

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The measles vaccine is usually given by injection as part of the combined MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine between the ages of 12 to 15 months old. A second "booster" dose of MMR is usually given when the child is between ages 4 and 6, and starting school.

"We're a long way from recommending routine aerosol booster doses," says Marcuse. "While this delivery system was effective with one strain, it clearly had difficulty with the other in the study. We need to understand why Indian and African children had different response rates." He also notes that giving the vaccine through an electric device, like those used in the study, would restrict its use in rural areas.

Vital Information:

  • South African researchers say the aerosol form of a measles booster, which they tested in more than 4,300 children, may one day be used to immunize children in developing countries.
  • The researchers say aerosol versions of the vaccine are easy for people to administer, may work as well as injected versions without the needle's risk of infection, and it is inexpensive.
  • Observers note that this aerosol vaccine may not be appropriate in the U.S. because the injected vaccines used in this trial are not those currently in widespread use in the U.S. Also, experts say it will probably be a long time before they can recommend aerosol boosters because there seem to be different rates of effectiveness according to the race of the child receiving it and which strain of vaccine is delivered.
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