Monday, March 22, 2010

Rotavirus Vaccine HALTED

We have not gotten the rotavirus virus vaccine. We have been lucky not to get a bad case of rotavirus. Now I read this and am relieved I didn't give it to my kids. The whole situation makes me a little uncomfortable. There is some virus present within the vaccine that has been there all along. Yet, researchers were surprised to find it? Huh? And it's not a safety issue, but use of the vaccine is being halted? Something doesn't add up to me. Maybe I am just overly cautious. What do you think?

FROM NBC: The FDA is calling for doctors to suspend the use of Glaxo Smith Kline's Rotavirus vaccine "Rotarix," until they can study it more closely. Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants, and before vaccines were introduced roughly 50 thousand babies were hospitalized every year with the illness.

FDA officials announced Monday researchers have found DNA material from a virus called PCV one in the vaccine. They do not believe this virus poses any safety risk -- it has been present in the vaccine since before it was approved.
However, it was an unexpected finding and they would like to study it further.

In the meantime, doctors can use another vaccine approved for the illness called Rotateq. Tests have shown the PCV one virus is not in that vaccine.
Concerned parents can call their doctors to find out if their child was given the Rotarix vaccine. however, they say there aren't any known side effects, and patients should not need a follow-up visit. About one million children have been given the Rotarix vaccine since it was approved in 2008.

Merck makes Rotateq. Other countries, where rotavirus is more deadly, may continue using Rotarix during this study period. The FDA is convening an advisory panel, scheduled for 4-6 weeks from now, to discuss Rotarix further.
FDA officials said this was a difficult decision because there is no evidence of risk, but the vaccine has several known benefits. The PCV1 virus was discovered by a team of independent scientists who were looking at vaccines and viruses that may be present. They were not examining the vaccine because of a reported issue.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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