Happenings on the vaccine front

July 1, 2004

Two items of note can be considered good news. First, there is more reassurance for parents about thimerosal and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine: In mid-May, the Immunization Safety Review Committee of the Institute of Medicine issued a final report on a purported connection between autism and the MMR vaccine and other thimerosal-containing vaccines. The committee's conclusion? Epidemiologic evidence doesn't support any connection.

Second, the supply of the conjugate pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7, Prevnar) is catching up with CDC requirements for its administration, and dosing restrictions may be lifted soon. According to CDC National Vaccine Program Office Medical Director Gregory Wallace, "current projections suggest that supply will be adequate for a three-dose coverage in the summer and a four-dose coverage in the fall." Wyeth, the vaccine's sole manufacturer, has been plagued by manufacturing problems but says that its "significant investment" in production facilities should avert shortages in the future.