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February 28, 1996

Changes Ahead in Childhood Immunization

JAMA. 1996;275(8):582. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320010005

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TWO NEW changes in childhood immunization are imminent: extension of the acellular pertussis component in the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DTP) vaccine to the first three doses given at 2,4, and 6 months of age, and the advent of a new and highly potent vaccine against hepatitis A.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed that the acellular form of the pertussis vaccine is effective and, insofar as it can be ascertained, safe when incorporated into the first three doses of DTP vaccine. Until now, because of lack of evidence that it was sufficiently immunogenic in infants, the acellular form of this vaccine was restricted to DTP immunizations in older children.

At the same meeting, the committee agreed unanimously that a new type of vaccine against hepatitis A was safe and effective and could be licensed.