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CDC: Defer Hib Boosters Until Vaccine Supply Improves

Recall of Hib vaccine by manufacturer led to vaccine shortage

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In response to a shortage of Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that health care providers temporarily defer routine Hib vaccine boosters in children aged 12 to 15 months until the vaccine situation improves, according to a report in the Dec. 19 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the CDC.

The CDC guidelines, reached in consultation with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, recommend that children at high risk for Hib disease should continue to receive the booster dose. High-risk groups include American Indian/Alaska Native children, and children with asplenia, sickle cell disease, HIV and other immunodeficiencies, and certain cancers. The CDC also recommends that health care providers should note the patients whose booster vaccination is deferred so they can be recalled for vaccination when more vaccine is available.

The vaccine shortage developed when Merck & Co, Inc. (West Point, Pa.) issued a voluntary recall of Hib vaccine due to concerns about potential contamination during a manufacturing step. Sanofi Pasteur (Swiftwater, Pa.) currently produces two other Hib conjugate vaccines, but will not likely to be able to immediately provide enough vaccine to overcome the shortage.

Together with its partners, the CDC "will continue to monitor the supply of available Hib vaccines and the epidemiology of Hib disease and provide updates when available," CDC health officials note in the report.

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