Flu Shots Have No Impact on Hospitalizations for Young Children

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Oct. 6 — Immunizations did not reduce emergency department visits or hospitalizations for children younger than five during two recent flu seasons, researchers here reported.

Looking at data from the 2003-2004 and the 2004-2005 flu seasons, there was no evidence that the immunization made any significant difference, although the vaccine was not a good match for circulating flu strains in those years, said Peter G. Szilagyi, M.D., M.P.H., of Strong Memorial Hospital, and colleagues.

 

The case-cohort study, reported in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, compared cases of acute respiratory illnesses in children six months to 59 months treated in hospitals — as inpatients or in the emergency department or outpatient clinic — with a control cluster sample of children treated at pediatric practices.

…The vaccine effectiveness ranged from 7% to 52% across all settings and three age groups (six-23 months, 24-59 months, six-59 months), they said.

Earlier studies had suggested that vaccination could reduce hospitalizations or emergency department visits, but those studies were limited by the use of nonspecific endpoints rather than laboratory-confirmed diagnoses or a narrow focus that concentrated on only a single healthcare setting — such as emergency departments — or a single flu season, Dr. Szilagyi wrote.

 

This study, he said, attempted to address those limitations, only to discover other factors that “contributed to the difficulty in demonstrating a positive [vaccine effectiveness].”

 

Chiefly, during the “2003-2004 season, 99% of the strains in these three communities were due to influenza A virus, but only 11% of influenza A specimens across the United States were similar to a strain included in the vaccine.”

 

And a year later, when the flu season was less severe and the vaccine was considered a better match, still “only 36% of the virus isolates were antigenically similar to vaccine strains,” they wrote.

 

Moreover, they acknowledged, the case-cohort design may have been a poor choice since it might be particularly susceptible to bias because parents who have had their children vaccinated might be more likely to seek medical care for their children than other parents.

 

In any case, they said, more studies are needed to adequately “assess the yearly impact of influenza vaccination programs for children.”

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Single Dose M M R Vaccines

 

…In the New York area, I’m hearing, the rubella component is on backorder at many pediatricians’ offices and in neighboring pharmacies known previously to carry it. This comes at a time when schools are asking for forms proving students are up to date with their vaccinations. This creates quite a conundrum.

Parents are now facing the possibility of having to give their child the combined shot they worked to avoid, on top of the two individual dose shots they’ve already administered, in order to be up to date. Needless to say they’re not pleased. Which might be why rumors are running rampant that the (big bad!) pharmaceutical companies are purposely not releasing individual doses as a way to combat demand for them. It’s also, parents surmise, a way to counteract concern over the triple dose vaccine. 

… But when a nurse friend told me her Merck rep said the single doses soon won’t be produced any longer, hence the current backlog in the rubella doses, I felt compelled to contact Merck & Co myself to set the record straight.

Here’s the response I got from Nalini Saligram 
Merck’s Director, Global Communications re whether or not they’re discontinuing the single dose shots, thereby making it impossible for parents who want to split up the vaccines:

“As you know, our trivalent combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (M-M-R II vaccine) is widely recommended and widely used in the US. In the US, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other policy makers recommend the use of combination M-M-R vaccine to help protect against all three diseases – measles, mumps and rubella. Merck has prioritized the production of M-M-R II, and is committed to meeting the medical need for vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella by providing M-M-R II in adequate supply to meet demand. M-M-R II has been administered to millions of infants  worldwide (over 500 million doses distributed to date)and has a well established safety and efficacy profile. We also make very limited quantities of the monovalent vaccines available in the US.”
As for the current rubella backlog, she says, “Because quantities are limited, there may be supply interruptions / unavailability of individual products from time to time. We do provide M-M-R II vaccine to meet the needs for vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella.”

This doesn’t speak to exactly how limited the quantities are, or if they’re more limited than they used to be. But apparently they have not been discontinued for now.

Source  10/2008

 

High court: Atlanta couple can sue over vaccination

An Atlanta couple’s lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers can go to trial on claims a childhood vaccine caused neurological damage to their young son, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In a landmark decision, the state high court unanimously ruled that Marcelo and Carolyn Ferrari’s lawsuit is not barred by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act. The court upheld a prior decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals, which was the first appellate court in the nation to make such a ruling.

When the Ferraris’ 18-month-old son, Stefan, received his vaccines, he was a healthy verbal boy. Now 10, Stefan has not spoken since, according to court records.

A year after Stefan received his vaccines, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that thimerosal, a preservative used for multi-dose vaccine vials, be removed from childhood vaccines. The Ferraris filed suit, contending that the manufacturers should have made vaccines without the preservative before Stefan was vaccinated.

The companies argued that the 1986 vaccine act shields manufacturers from liability in civil lawsuits for damages caused by vaccines given after Oct. 1, 1988.

In Monday’s ruling, written by Justice George Carley, the state Supreme Court said the vaccine act “clearly does not preempt all design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers.”

Instead, it provides “that a vaccine manufacturer cannot be held liable for defective design if it is determined, on a case-by-case basis, that the injurious side effects of the particular vaccine were unavoidable,” the ruling said.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution   October 06, 2008

AND…

Georgia family challenges federal vaccine law

 

Stefan Ferrari got his required vaccines before he was 18 months old. At the time, his parents said, he was a healthy, verbal boy.

But after his last round of booster shots, Stefan stopped speaking and, now 10 years old, he has not spoken since.

vaccines caused neurological damage to their young son. On Tuesday, the family’s lawyer asked the Georgia Supreme Court to let the case against two vaccine manufacturers, Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline, go forward.

Lawyer Lanny Bridgers told the court it was bad timing when Stefan received his last shots. A year later, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that thimerosal, a preservative used for multi-dose vaccine vials, be removed from childhood vaccines. The Ferraris contend that manufacturers should have made vaccines without thimerosal before Stefan was vaccinated.

But a lawyer arguing on behalf of the manufacturers told the state high court that the suit is barred by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act.

The law says no vaccine maker shall be held liable in a civil action for damages arising from an injury or death caused by vaccines given after Oct. 1, 1988.

The exceptions are if the vaccine was improperly prepared or contained improper directions or warnings. Neither of these were involved in Stefan’s case, Daniel Thomasch, a lawyer for the manufacturers, told the court.

“It was the clear intent of Congress to pre-empt precisely the claims that are at issue here,” he argued.

Congress passed the law after hundreds of lawsuits were filed against vaccine manufacturers. The litigation increased insurance costs, drove out some manufacturers and threatened the continued production of some vaccines, even though the lawsuits were largely unsuccessful, Thomasch said.

“It has been a remarkably successful program,” he said of the 1986 law. “This wasn’t a rescue of the industry. It was an important step to make sure vaccines remained available in the United States.”

Seven of eight courts to consider challenges to the 1986 act have ruled in favor of the manufacturers. Last year, the Georgia Court of Appeals became the first court in the nation to rule the act did not pre-empt state law allowing such lawsuits. The manufacturers are appealing that decision to the state Supreme Court.

Bridgers, the Ferraris’ lawyer, told the justices that courts should review vaccine challenges on a case-by-case basis, not bar them completely. Otherwise, complaints must be brought in Washington before the U.S. Court of Claims where there are restrictions on the amount of awards, he said.

“Did Congress really intend to create an opt-out provision that allows the child to be thrown out of court?” Bridgers asked the justices. “I think not.”

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution  05/20/08

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The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 WAS one the worst things that could have happened to our children in this country. If it wasn’t for NCVIA, our nations children would have better protection instead of vaccine manufacturers hiding under the act and acting like they have no accountability! It’s been 20 years too long and it’s time as a country we stand up and hold them accountable!

Everyone should get a copy of the Senate hearing S.827 and read it cover to cover. It’s free to all U.S. citizens. You’ll learn why we have NCVIA  it, how it came about, and who the key players were. If you don’t want to read that, then read A Stolen Life.  What Marge Grant wrote in her book can also be found in the Senate hearing, so it is officially on record.