Most people know that the RotaShield rotavirus vaccine was discontinued in 1999 because it was found to be linked to intussusception.
It took eight years for a new rotavirus vaccine to be licensed.
Lymerix, a Lyme disease vaccine was discontinued in 2002. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a new replacement Lyme disease vaccine.
Vaccines That Have Been Discontinued
More commonly, a vaccine gets discontinued with little notice, as there are other options to keep kids vaccinated and protected.
Other vaccines that are no longer made, include:
- Menomume – an older meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine was discontinued in 2017 in the US as it was replaced with the newer meningococcal conjugate vaccines Menactra and Menveo.
- MenHibrix – a meningococcal – Hib combination vaccine that was discontinued in the US in 2016 due to low demand
- Cervarix – an HPV vaccine that was discontinued in the US in 2016 due to low demand
- Comvax – a Hib/Hepatitis B combination – discontinued in 2014
- Tetanus toxoid – discontinued 2013
- Tripedia – a DTaP vaccine – discontinued 2011
- TriHIBit – a DTaP/Hib combination
- JE-VAX – discontinued 2005
- Attenuvax – measles vaccine
- Mumpsvax – mumps vaccine
- Meruvax II – rubella vaccine
- M-R-Vax – measles and rubella combo
- M-M-Vax – measles and mumps combo
- Biavax II – rubella and mumps combo
- Heptavax-B – the original hepatitis B vaccine
- HIB-Vax – the original Hib vaccine
- Plague vaccine
- Dryvax – smallpox vaccine
- Measles-Smallpox combination vaccine
- Diptussis – a diphtheria/pertussis combination (1949-55)
- Quadrigen – a DTP/Polio combination (1959-68)
- Streptococcus vaccine (1952-88)
- Serobacterin – a pertussis vaccine (1945-54)
- Rocky mountain spotted fever vaccine (1942-78)
- Typhus vaccine (1941-79)
- smallpox vaccine (1917-1976)
Most of these vaccines were discontinued because they simply became obsolete.
The Hib-Vax and Heptavax-B vaccines, for example, both use older technology, so these vaccines were discontinued when newer Hib and hepatitis B vaccines were introduced.
And some vaccines are discontinued or are phased out when they get an update:
- MMR -> MMR-II (1978)
- Prevnar 7 -> Prevnar 13 (2010)
- Gardasil -> Gardasil 9 (2014)
Still other vaccines, like Tripedia and TriHIBit, seemed to get discontinued as a business decision. Through mergers, Sanofi Pasteur, Ltd. ended up with two DTaP vaccines. They had their own Daptacel, but also had Tripedia, a vaccine they acquired from Pasteur Merieux. They ended up discontinuing Tripedia.
Merck also stopped making Comvax not because of “any product safety or manufacturing issues,” but rather “as part of its ongoing effort to focus company resources on opportunities that provide the greatest value for customers, patients, and public health…”
Cervarix was discontinued because of low market demand. The competing HPV vaccine, Gardasil, had the much larger market share.
Vaccine Manufacturers and Discontinued Vaccines
And of course, some vaccine manufacturers simply stopped making vaccines.
The Texas Department of Health Resources once had a license to make vaccines, including DTP, diphtheria, DT, pertussis, tetanus, Td, and typhoid vaccines since 1950. They completely exited the vaccine market in 1979.
In the 1970s and 80s, dozens of vaccines were discontinued as Miles Inc., Eli Lilly, Parke Davis, and other companies stopped making vaccines.
While that is often downplayed these days, it is important to realize that we used to have much more competition among vaccine manufacturers. For example, in the early 1970s, the DTP vaccine was made by at least 11 different companies! We now have just two that make DTaP. And in many other cases, like for Prevnar, MMR-II, polio, and the chicken pox vaccine, there is just one manufacturer.
For More Information on Discontinued Vaccines:
- CDC – Q&As about Monovalent M-M-R Vaccines
- Vaccine History: Vaccine Availability Timeline
- Vaccine Supply Problems: A Perspective of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- WHO prequalified vaccines
- CDC – List of Vaccines Used in the United States
- Vaccine Manufacturers
- Why Are Pharmaceutical Companies Gradually Abandoning Vaccines?
- At risk: vaccines – How a legal case could cripple one of modern medicine’s greatest achievements
- Weakened Defenses. Why doesn’t the world’s sole superpower have dependable supplies of all vaccines for its citizens?
- Book – Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine’s Greatest Lifesaver
Updated on February 7, 2018