Skip to comments.Info on Smallpox vaccine for freepers
Posted on 10/21/2001 10:33:10 PM PDT by bonesmccoy
Just wanted to leave you all some info on Vaccinia vaccination. Basically, last I heard the small pox immunization was not being produced in the USA. There was a report today that DOD has ordered supplies from UK. Frankly, I don't know how the UK could be producing the vaccine. The only known stockpiles of the virus (after World Health Organization/UN announced eradication of the virus from Earth) were in the US and USSR. If a UK company is making vaccine, what is in the vaccine?
The old vaccine was produced using techniques that would not be licensed or approved today. So, the stockpile doesn't meet current specs. Also, my info was that the stockpile is about 20 years old.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm not about to use 20-year-old vaccine in my practice without knowing that the vaccine was needed. I certainly would not use it in our children, unless I was convinced that a threat exists.
I do have the scar from the smallpox vaccine on my arm. My doctor gave it to me in the late 1970's. So, I feel a certain measure of comfort from that knowledge. However, it is important to note that the immunologic effect of the vaccine wanes (decreases) over the years.
Talking-heads on CNN et al have been stating that those who received the vaccine may not be immune. Well, I would like to point out to those @%^*!s that the original small pox vaccine was a LIVE VIRUS. That's why your skin ended up with welts, sores, and then scarred for life. The Japanese used the Oka Chicken Pox Vaccine for 20 years before the US gov't finally got it released to our nation. Have the Japanese seen any waning immunity from Oka Varicella Zoster Vaccine (the chickenpox vaccine)? NO! Yet, there are still idiot talking-heads who are PAID to show up on some news program and to spout incorrect info that the OkaVZV vaccine has concerns about waning immunity. ACCORDING TO WHOM?
The FDA can find an answer to the question of waning smallpox immunity real fast. THOMPSON NEEDS TO TELL CDC TO COMMISSION A FOLLOW-UP STUDY ON THE OLD SMALLPOX IMMUNIZATION. Have CDC draw serum samples on our generation of kids (who got the vaccine when we were young and are now consenting adults). Confirm when the patient received the vaccine and check the sample for any antibodies to smallpox. If you find IgG antibodies (assuming we know how to locate such antibodies, which I can not vouch for), then you will know if boosters are needed in previously immunized individuals.
Vaccinia (smallpox) vaccine, a licensed product, is a preparation of infectious vaccinia virus whose origin and manipulation is FDA approved. The vaccinia is grown in the skin of a vaccinated bovine calf (2). In 1982, the only active licensed producer of vaccinia vaccine in the United States, Wyeth Laboratories, discontinued production for general use, and, in 1983, distribution to the civilian population was discontinued. Smallpox vaccination has not been required for international travelers since January 1982, and International Certificates of Vaccination no longer include smallpox vaccination.
CDC provides vaccinia vaccine for laboratory workers directly involved with smallpox or closely related orthopox viruses (e.g., monkeypox and vaccinia). Due to clinical trials involving recombinant vaccinia virus vaccines, health-care workers (e.g., physicians and nurses) may now be exposed to vaccinia and recombinant vaccinia viruses and should be considered for vaccinia vaccination (6).
There is no evidence that smallpox vaccination has any therapeutic value in the treatment or prevention of recurrent herpes simplex infection, warts, oral thrush, or any other diseases (6). Requests for smallpox vaccine for these unapproved uses cannot be granted.
This gets to what I've been wondering about. Say you were born in the late 50s, and your parents dutifully had you vaccinated according to school system and federal guidelines. Would you have been vaccinated, even though you can't remember, and have no way to ask the parents? And, the vaccination that left a 1/2 to 3/4 inch blotch scar... was that for smallpox, or polio?
I wondered if it is still around, so I made a request to some rancher friends that they ask their local vet. If I find out, I will surely inform.
Thanks for posting useful and intelligent info on this. Vaccinations work; you cannot rely on herd immunity, especially in a very mobile, world-travelling society.
NEW YORK (AP) - In the highly profitable pharmaceutical business, vaccines have long been the low-rent cousin - never matching the profits or prominence of medicines.
That has changed significantly since Sept. 11. Now vaccines have got the attention, but it's unclear if dollars will follow.
New fears of bio-terrorism have led the government to announce it wants to purchase 300 million doses of smallpox vaccine, enough to inoculate every American against the deadly disease.
Many drug makers have shied away from making vaccines in the past; vaccines can be as costly as drugs to develop, but don't offer the same returns.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was seeking a firm to manufacture smallpox vaccine last year, it was spurned by major drug companies, and the $343 million contract for 40 million doses fell to a previously obscure British firm, Acambis.
Now more drug companies are offering their services, and the government said it would spend $509 million on additional doses. But that's hardly a windfall in an industry where sales are expected to reach $178 billion this year, according estimates by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
The United States has 15 million doses of smallpox vaccine, and has ordered an additional 14 million from Acambis, on top of the original 40 million. The company now expects to have its first doses ready by 2002, two years earlier than originally planned.
But experts say much more is needed. In the wake of recent anthrax cases, concerns have grown about security at the Russian lab that has one of the two remaining smallpox virus samples.
"We couldn't contain an outbreak" said GiGi Kwik, a fellow at the John Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies.
A smallpox epidemic would be much worse than an anthrax outbreak, because smallpox is contagious and more deadly than anthrax. Roughly 30 percent of those who contract smallpox die. A large portion of the U.S. population has never been vaccinated and no one knows if those inoculated have retained their immunity.
Smallpox vaccination stopped in the United States in 1972, and the disease was eradicated by 1980. That meant many major pharmaceutical companies stopped producing the vaccine because it wasn't considered a major public health threat, and no market was foreseen.
Other factors also kept drug companies from making vaccines for smallpox or other bio-terrorist threats such as Ebola.
Lehman Brothers analyst Tony Butler estimates the gross margin on a drug is about 90 percent compared to 70 percent to 80 percent for a vaccine. Drugs also generate more sales - medicines are often taken two and three times daily for years. Vaccines are typically given one to five times over a lifetime.
Butler said it's difficult for vaccine developers to choose promising candidates. Companies must determine if the demand for a vaccine is great enough, or if the affected population could afford the treatment. The same is true for drugs, but medicines are given to sick people while vaccines are given to healthy people.
"You know who should get a cancer drug, but who should really get the vaccine?" asked Butler.
In addition, vaccines can have side effects that pose risk of litigation. Experts say if healthy people get sick after taking a vaccine they are much more likely to win juror sympathy than a sick person developing complications from a drug.
Lawsuits by parents who assert their children were hurt by vaccines were so widespread that in 1988 the government set up the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to handle the complaints.
"When an individual is sick and seeks treatment there is a certain amount of risk associated with the treatment. The risk assessment is totally different with a healthy person," said Dr. Adel Mahmoud, president of Merck & Co.'s vaccine division.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., is working on a massive bioterrorism package worth $5 billion to $10 billion. That includes money to hasten vaccine production and ease antitrust restrictions for drug companies.
"There is just so much to do," said Kwik. "There was not a real interest in this because there was no market. My impression is that the drug companies don't do anything unless there is a profit."
But others have a more optimistic view. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the government could have enough vaccine for everyone in the nation within six to 12 months.
No one asked you. Whatever vaccine is given won't be "20 years old" and there is a threat.
I do have the scar from the smallpox vaccine on my arm. My doctor gave it to me in the late 1970's
The routine vaccination was ended in aro9und 1972. What are you doing getting it in the late 70's. I think small pox immunization should begin again. Maybe it will not be used. But if it is, staring immunization after that will be too late for the first to get it.
Mine was well before the 70's (that is when my kids got theirs..)But because it was a live virus I suspect all of us that had the vaccine have "some level" of immunity..maybe enought that we will just look like monsters but live through it..let the kids get it first..work from birth up..seems the fairest way!
Personally with a 30% death rate Smallpox worries me much less than Eboli...
An interesting read, albeit rather long. Explains where and how much small pox vaccine there is in the U.S.
I just heard the other day that the government was talking to Merck about doing so. I am stating this as a bit of recalled memory that I in no way wish to be taken as authoritive.