Varicella vaccine booster added to the recommended immunization schedule

July 12, 2006

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted on June 29 that children 4 to 6 years old receive a second dose of varicella vaccine for the prevention of chickenpox.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted on June 29 that children 4 to 6 years old receive a second dose of varicella vaccine for the prevention of chickenpox.

The Committee also recommended that children, adolescents, and adults who received only one dose of varicella vaccine receive a second "catch-up" dose. In addition, the ACIP voted to recommend that a second dose of varicella vaccine be included in the CDC's Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.

Merck & Co.'s Varivax and ProQuad are the only vaccines approved in the United States for preventing chickenpox. Varivax is indicated for vaccination against varicella in persons 12 months and older and ProQuad is indicated for simultaneous vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella in children 12 months to 12 years of age.

"While use of the one-dose regimen of the chickenpox vaccine has significantly reduced cases of chickenpox, we believe we can still do more," said Keith Reisinger, MD, medical director of Primary Physicians Research. "Because clinical data has shown that a two-dose regimen can potentially further lower the risk of infection, the ACIP's recommendation that children receive a second dose of the varicella vaccine makes it more likely that most American children can have greater protection against this potentially serious disease."