Doctors split on vaccine strategy to shield babies

(Reuters Health) – A large group of U.S. doctors on Monday gave the green light for pediatricians to offer vaccines to close family members of babies who are too young to get shots themselves. The strategy, known as cocooning, is meant to block diseases from reaching the infant in the first place and is backed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

But earlier this month, Canadian government researchers suggested that at least for whooping cough, a major infectious disease worldwide, cocooning comes with a hefty price tag.They estimated that to prevent one infant death from the disease in Quebec or British Columbia, at least one million parents would have to be vaccinated — at a cost of some 20 Canadian dollars per shot.

 

“This program appears inefficient,” said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, of the British Columbia Center for Disease Control in Vancouver. “In fact, the criteria for this to be successful are almost impossible,” she told Reuters Health. “We’re not saying that babies are not important — of course they are — but we have to be wise about how we use our finite resources.” … for the rest of this article, click HERE

Flu vaccine hampers development of virus T Cell immunity

Study Title: Annual Vaccination against Influenza Virus Hampers Development of Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cell Immunity in Children.

Study Abstract:

Infection with seasonal influenza A viruses induces immunity to potentially pandemic influenza A viruses of other subtypes (heterosubtypic immunity). We recently demonstrated that vaccination against seasonal influenza prevented the induction of heterosubtypic immunity against influenza A/H5N1 virus induced by infection with seasonal influenza in animal models, which correlated with the absence of virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses. Annual vaccination of all healthy children against influenza has been recommended, but the impact of vaccination on the development of the virus-specific CD8(+) T cell immunity in children is currently unknown. Here we compared the virus-specific CD8(+) T cell immunity in children vaccinated annually with that in unvaccinated children. In the present study, we compared influenza A virus-specific cellular and humoral responses of unvaccinated healthy control children with those of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) who were vaccinated annually. Similar virus-specific CD4(+) T cell and antibody responses were observed, while an age-dependent increase of the virus-specific CD8(+) T cell response that was absent in vaccinated CF children was observed in unvaccinated healthy control children. Our results indicate that annual influenza vaccination is effective against seasonal influenza but hampers the development of virus-specific CD8(+) T cell responses. The consequences of these findings are discussed in the light of the development of protective immunity to seasonal and future pandemic influenza viruses.

Study Information:

Bodewes R, Fraaij PL, Geelhoed-Mieras MM, van Baalen CA, Tiddens HA, van Rossum AM, van der Klis FR, Fouchier RA, Osterhaus AD, Rimmelzwaan GF. Annual Vaccination against Influenza Virus Hampers Development of Virus-Specific CD8+ T Cell Immunity in Children. J Virol. 2011 November 85(22):11995-2000.
Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands.