The push to develop a vaccine against the Ebola virus is on, and vaccination is going to be an important part of controlling this contagious disease. Phase 1 trials are slated to begin soon in the United States. Even if adequate safety and immunogenicity are demonstrated in the phase 1 studies, vaccines will not be available in substantial quantity until the first quarter of 2015 at the earliest. Even if an effective vaccine can be produced, it is not likely to be 100% effective to succeed in stemming the current or future outbreaks. There are different strains and the virus continues to mutate. While I agree that an Ebola vaccine is an important of the global strategy to control the virus, I do not agree that Americans should receive an Ebola vaccine and be subjected to the risk a serious adverse event or death, unless they are traveling to an endemic area. So why are we doing these Phase 1 trials on Americans?
The Japanese Health Ministry withdrew HPV Vaccination recommendations for young girls to help prevent cervical cancer because of numerous complaints of side effects. Hundreds of vaccinated girls have complained of long term pain and numbness after receiving the vaccine. While the ministry is not suspending the use fo the vaccination, it has instructed local governments to not promote its use. This withdrawal of immunization recommendation is unusual because it was used regularly by local governments and is required by law.
The incidence of pertussis (whooping cough) has risen dramatically in recent years reflecting the relative weak immunogenicity of the acellular vaccine compared with the prior whole-cell vaccine used prior to 1996. The vaccine is typically given as a combination known as Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis). To compensate for the reduced effectiveness of the acellular form, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) now recommends that adults and adolescents get booster shots to provide protection from infection. However, the booster has not lowered the incidence of the disease in neonates. The recommendation is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) except for women who have been previously vaccinated.
Although the HPV vaccine has been recommended for teenage girls to help prevent the development of cervical cancer caused by infection with high risk serotypes of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), about 75% of teenage girls were not current with the HPV vaccination. More than 40% of parents reported that they had no intention of having their daughters complete the HPV immunization process. Parents' reasons for not completing this immunization schedule included beliefs that it was not needed or necessary (17%), safety concerns (16%), lack of sexual activity in the children (11%) and lack of knowledge (10%). This study was conducted between 2008 and 2010 and included a review of the tetanus diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap), the quadrivalent meningococcal (MCV4) and the HPV immunization. About 20% of teens were not up-to-date for the Tdap immunizations and approximately 65% were not up-to-date for the MCV4 immunizations.