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Vaccine Shortages: How to Cope
Infectious Diseases in Children; 4
Brunell, Philip A.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidelines for doctors on how to deal with current vaccine shortages, which have affected the national supplies of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine, the tetanus toxoid, the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, the varicella vaccine, and the pnuemococcal conjugate vaccine. Most of the shortages are expected to be cleared up by the end of 2002, but the current situation calls for careful planning by physicians, notes Dr. Philip A. Brunell, chief medical editor of Infectious Diseases in Children. Naturally, patients and healthcare workers at higher risk for specific diseases should be vaccinated first. Children's vaccinations can be delayed in some cases, though children going to a group situation for the first time, like school, should receive special consideration because of their increased contact with others, Brunell points out. Other ways to cut back on vaccinations include deferring late booster shots in a vaccination regimen and delaying adolescent and adult diphtheria tetanus boosters.

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