Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

America May Over-vaccinate, According To New Research

Date:
November 8, 2007
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
A new study suggests that timelines for vaccinating and revaccinating Americans against disease should possibly be re-evaluated and adjusted. The study shows that in many cases, the established duration of protective immunity for many vaccines is greatly underestimated.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine* by Oregon Health & Science University researchers suggests that timelines for vaccinating and revaccinating Americans against disease should possibly be reevaluated and adjusted. The study shows that in many cases, the established duration of protective immunity for many vaccines is greatly underestimated. This means that people are getting booster shots when their immunity levels most likely do not require it.

"The goal of this study was to determine how long immunity could be maintained after infection or vaccination. We expected to see long-lived immunity following a viral infection and relatively short-lived immunity after vaccination, especially since this is the reasoning for requiring booster vaccinations. Surprisingly, we found that immunity following vaccination with tetanus and diphtheria was much more long-lived than anyone realized and that antibody responses following viral infections were essentially maintained for life," explained Mark Slifka, Ph.D. Slifka serves as an associate scientist at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute with joint appointments at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and the department of molecular microbiology and immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

"We want to emphasize that proper vaccination is vital for protecting people against infectious disease. We also need to mention that over-vaccinating the population poses no health or safety concerns -- it may just be unnecessary under certain circumstances. What our study found was that the lifespan of protective immunity for certain vaccines is much longer than previously thought. So what does this mean? Based on this data and other studies, we may want to consider adjusting some of our recommended vaccination schedules. Doing so may reduce the number of required shots that are administered each year in this country while at the same time help extend limited health care resources," Dr. Slifka explained.

To conduct the research, Slifka and his colleagues evaluated 630 blood samples from a total of 45 study participants. In the case of some participants, archived serum samples provided data going back as far as 26 years. Once gathered, the data was then analyzed to determine the level of immunity in each individual for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox (Varicella-zoster virus), mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), tetanus and diphtheria over an extended period of time. Upon further examination, researchers found that antibody responses caused by viruses such as measles mumps, and rubella remained at protective levels for several decades and in most cases, for life. This is interesting because these three viruses were classically described as "childhood infections" because it was rare to be infected twice in a lifetime.

The research also reconfirmed a previous finding by Slifka and his colleagues: that the duration of immunity after smallpox vaccination is much longer than previously thought. In that earlier study published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2003, these OHSU researchers observed surprisingly long-lived antiviral antibody responses but they were unable to measure the slow rate of decline. In this current study, they demonstrate that this type of immunity is maintained with a calculated half-life of 92 years -- a number that is substantially longer than the estimate of only 3 to 5 years of immunity following vaccination that was previously proposed by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Another example is the tetanus vaccine," said Slifka. "Doctors are told that vaccination is effective for a period of 10 years -- but after that, people should be revaccinated. Based on our studies and the work of others, once a person has received their primary series of vaccinations they are likely to be protected for at least three decades. Indeed, other countries such as Sweden have changed their vaccination policies and doctors are advised to offer tetanus revaccination only once every 30 years." Importantly, this has not resulted in any increase in the number of tetanus cases in Sweden and demonstrates first-hand that switching from the 10-year to 30-year policy is safe and effective. Taking this small step in vaccination scheduling could save hundreds of millions of dollars on health care here in the US."

*The results are published in the November 8 edition of the journal.

This research was supported by the United States Public Health Service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health & Science University. "America May Over-vaccinate, According To New Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107170749.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2007, November 8). America May Over-vaccinate, According To New Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107170749.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "America May Over-vaccinate, According To New Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071107170749.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins