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History of Vaccines Blog


April 29, 2014  Karie Youngdahl

A Monday afternoon session at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Annual Conference on Vaccine Research was entitled “Current Challenges in Immunization Policy.” The topics ranged from vaccine hesitancy, effectiveness of acellular pertussis vaccine, and the burden of adverse events from rotavirus vaccination. Saad B. Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, of the Emory Vaccine Center, is widely published on vaccine refusal and its consequences in relation to disease. Most of the work he presented Monday explored the relationship between vaccine hesitancy and pertussis incidence. 

Posted in: Rotavirus, Ethics, Pertussis (whooping cough)

May 19, 2011

We recently interviewed Paul A. Offit, MD, about his experience developing a rotavirus vaccine. His vaccine, known generically as rotavirus oral vaccine (commercially as RotaTeq), has been part of the recommended childhood immunization schedule since 2006. In the interview, Offit discusses an experience with rotavirus disease as a young physician, working with Stanley Plotkin, MD (developer of the rubella vaccine), the long process of creating the rotavirus vaccine, and the relief and pride involved in receiving encouraging safety results from post-licensure monitoring. He also discusses, more generally, how a researcher goes about developing a new vaccine.

Click the picture to see one of the interview segments in The History of Vaccines Gallery. See the entire set of Offit interview segments by searching for “Offit” in The History of Vaccines search box and clicking the Media tab to access all six video clips.

Dr. Offit is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Posted in: Rotavirus, Vaccine Research

April 28, 2011

National Infant Immunization Week is April 23-30 this year. This week, the History of Vaccines blog features posts about several diseases that can be prevented by vaccination of infants.

Although its name is not as well known as those of diseases like chickenpox or measles, rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhea in children and infants worldwide. Before a vaccine was introduced in the United States, the disease caused more than 400,000 doctor's visits and 200,000 emergency room visits each year, causing as many as 60 deaths annually in U.S. children younger than five.

The virus spreads easily among children, and can also be passed from children to those with whom they're in close contact. Rotavirus spreads via the fecal-oral route -- that is, from the waste of an infected person to the mouth of another individual. This can occur via contamination on hands or objects like toys.

Rotavirus can be prevented by vaccination. The first dose of the vaccine series is recommended at two months of age.

Posted in: General, Pertussis (whooping cough), Public Health, Rotavirus