A latest study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases explains that those individuals who are already vaccinated don’t need further adult booster vaccinations.
Ariel M Slifka et al, researchers from Oregon Health and Science University and Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon, USA, explain that if children have completed vaccination courses, they don’t need vaccine boosters in adulthood.
Vaccination is an efficient way of preventing disease. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children should be vaccinated in the first two years of life.
This observational cohort study compromised of World Health Organization (WHO) reports from 2001 to 2016. The prevalence of tetanus and diphtheria was compared in 31 North American and European countries that do and don’t recommend vaccine boosters.
A comparison of the countries that vaccinate their adults up to 20 years of age and those that don’t vaccinate for tetanus and diphtheria were evaluated. The first set of countries showed no remarkable decline in tetanus prevalence as compared to the second set of countries. On the other hand, countries with poor prevalence coverage had increased risk of developing diphtheria.
After analyzing data of more than 11 billion person-years, the results show that adult booster vaccines do not help against tetanus and diphtheria. This analysis goes in favor of the WHO recommendations that vaccine boosters don’t help if the child is already vaccinated at a young age. As many as 10 European countries don’t recommend vaccine boosters. The US also needs to focus on changing this policy as it could save it almost $1 billion a year.
Before vaccines for tetanus and diphtheria became common, 470 tetanus linked deaths and 1,800 diphtheria linked deaths were reported in the USA every year but now that rate has declined by 99%.
The study’s lead researcher, Slifka, a professor at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and the Oregon National Primate Research Center, says, “This study is pro-vaccine, everyone should get their series of tetanus and diphtheria shots when they’re children. But once they have done that, our data indicates they should be protected for life.”
According to WHO, 20 million children around the world still miss their vaccines which is quite alarming.
In a 2016 study, Slifka and colleagues recommended that vaccination boosters should be given every 30 years but their latest study has proven it wrong. Slifka now explains that it seems that immunity can be maintained for a longer period, adding that at that time the evidence was short and didn’t prove this long-term protection against the diseases for which children are vaccinated at a young age.