Supply woes hit chickenpox shots

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted June 4, 2007

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Lower-than-expected yields of varicella-zoster virus mean that supplies of ProQuad -- the immunization combining this antigen with those providing protection against measles, mumps and rubella -- will be depleted by July, said a notice in the May 11 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The manufacturer, Merck & Co., expects supplies to be sufficient to continue to provide Varivax, which gives protection only against varicella; and Zostavax, which prevents shingles. Both require less bulk vaccine than the combination shot.

Children are recommended to receive a shot providing varicella protection at ages 12 to 15 months and 4 to 6 years. During this shortfall, physicians who want to reduce the number of injections given at the latter visit may give the second dose of varicella sooner as long as at least a month has passed since the first one, said the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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