New Children's Vaccines Added
CDC Panel Recommends 2-Dose Rotavirus Vaccine and 2 New Multi-Vaccines
June 26, 2008 -- A CDC panel has approved a new two-dose rotavirus vaccine for infants, a five-disease vaccine for infants, and a four-disease booster vaccine for kids.
The new combination vaccines would cut the number of shots kids have to undergo for protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. Like the existing rotavirus vaccine, the new rotavirus vaccine is given orally -- but one fewer dose is needed.
The new recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) do not express a preference for using these vaccines instead of vaccines now in use.
The new rotavirus vaccine is called Rotarix, from GlaxoSmithKline. Like RotaTeq, Merck's existing vaccine, it protects against the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children. RotaTeq, introduced in 2006, is credited with last year's huge decline in rotavirus illness.
Both rotavirus vaccine series are recommended for infants between the ages of 6 and 14 weeks, and should not be started after 15 weeks of age. The minimum interval between doses is four weeks. All doses should be given by age 8 months.
Pentacel, from Sanofi Pasteur, protects against five diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, and Hib disease (infections caused by Haemophilusinfluenzae type b, which despite its name does not cause the flu).
Pentacel is given at ages 2, 4, and 6 months, and again at age 15 to 18 months as a booster.
Kinrix, from GlaxoSmithKline, protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio. It's designed as a booster vaccine for kids 4 to 6 years old who received their initial immunizations with individual-component vaccines or with the Pediarix five-way vaccine.
The FDA has already approved all three vaccines. However, many insurance companies do not cover vaccines until they are added to the ACIP's recommended vaccine schedule.
The ACIP recommendations came at its regular June meeting, held this week in at the CDC in Atlanta.