MMR + Varicella – required in Australia July 2013

An article published recently in the Australian online publication AdelaideNow: “Chief medical officer Paddy Phillips says it’s time to end debate on jabs” refers to “the release of two major studies…” on chickenpox and the 2009 outbreak of H1N1, and appears to be an advertorial for chickenpox and flu vaccination.

On the subject of chickenpox vaccination, the MMR + V (i.e. MMR plus varicella/chickenpox vaccines) is being rolled out in Australia and, according to the Australian Government’s “Definition of ‘fully immunised’ for the Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement“, from July 2013 will be required at 18 months of age (after the first MMR vaccine at 12 months).

The paper re chickenpox/varicella referred to in the AdelaideNow article is “Changes in Patterns of Hospitalized Children with Varicella and of Associated Varicella“.  The paper has been published online by The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (POST ACCEPTANCE, 17 December 2012)

The paper is not currently freely accessible on the journal website.  (UPDATE 23 March 2014: The final version of this paper is now freely accessible online: “Changes in Patterns of Hospitalized Children with Varicella and of Associated Varicella Genotypes After Introduction of Varicella Vaccine in Australia“)

The corresponding author is Helen Marshall, Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit, Discipline of Paediatrics, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, North Adelaide, South Australia.  The Disclosures statement on the paper notes:

“Helen Marshall has been a member of vaccine advisory boards for Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKine Biologicals and her institution has received funding for investigator led research from Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur, and has received travel support from Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and CSL to present scientific data at international meetings.” 

Marshall’s paper refers to two varicella vaccines, Varilrix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) and VARIVAX (Merck & Co).

There was no reference to the disclosure information in the AdelaideNow article…  (AdelaideNow is a News Limited publication.)

For more background on the MMR vaccine, in particular arbritrary revaccination with the second dose see Measles / Mumps / Rubella (MMR) ‘booster’.

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