Another year has passed and although anti-vaccine folks keep talking about those 300 vaccines in pipeline, there were few new developments in the vaccine world in 2018.
Well, maybe that’s not entirely true.
Vaccines – Year in Review 2018
So what can we say about 2018 when it comes to vaccines?
Well, we did get some new ones!
- approved by the FDA in late 2017, a new hepatitis B vaccine for adults, Heplisav-B, the formal recommendation for its use from the ACIP came on February 21, 2018
- although it was both approved by the FDA and formally recommended by the ACIP in late 2017, Shingrix, the new shingles vaccine, became more widely available in 2018 – well kind of – there have been a lot of shortages due to high demand for the vaccine
- Vaxelis, a hexavalent vaccine that combines DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepB into one shot was FDA approved on December 21, 2018, but likely won’t be available for a few more years
- FluMist, the nasal spray flu vaccine, returned
And we lost one… Last year was the first full year that Menomune, an older meningococcal vaccine, was no longer available. It was discontinued because of low demand, as we began to use the newer vaccines, Menactra and Menveo instead.
In other immunization news:
- a 2017 shortage of yellow fever vaccine continued into 2018
- a shortage of monovalent pediatric hepatitis B vaccine will continue into 2019 (doesn’t affect combination vaccines with hepatitis B)
- Gardasil 9 received an expanded recommendation – women and men between the ages of 27 and 45 years can now get vaccinated and protected with this HPV vaccine
- the hepatitis A vaccine got a lower age recommendation – at least in special situations – “HepA vaccine be administered to infants aged 6–11 months traveling outside the United States when protection against HAV is recommended.”
- the recommendation to use a third dose of MMR to control outbreaks of mumps was formally approved
- the WHO updated its recommendations for use of the dengue fever vaccine (Dengvaxia) to makes sure that only dengue-seropositive persons are vaccinated, as they found an increased risk of severe dengue in seronegative people who were vaccinated
- Of the 163 million to 168 million doses of flu vaccine that will be distributed in the United States for the 2018-2019 season, more than 80% will be thimerosal free.
- China had an issue with substandard DTaP vaccines made by one company in one part of the country
- India had an issue with contaminated polio vaccines made by one company in one part of the country – bivalent oral polio vaccines (two strains) still contained all three strains of polio vaccine virus
- Measles cases and deaths spiked globally because of gaps in vaccination coverage
If you didn’t hear about any of those things in the news, you may have heard about the death of two young children in Samoa after they received an MMR vaccine. That tragedy almost certainly was caused by an error in administering/mixing the vaccines, and not because there was anything wrong with the vaccines themselves.
Need help getting educated about vaccines? Despite continued outbreaks, 2018 was a good year for vaccine advocates and vaccine education.
Several good books about vaccines were published, including:
- Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity
- Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information
- Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism
And in case you missed it, we found out that:
- Repeat vaccination is safe for most kids with mild to moderate reactions
- Bots and Russian trolls influenced vaccine discussion on Twitter, research finds
- Measles vaccine increases child survival beyond protecting against measles
- Immunization in the early third trimester provided newborns with protection against pertussis
- Tdap Vaccination for Pregnant Women Does Not Increase Risk of Autism
- A large US VAERS study finds DTaP vaccine safe
- Getting vaccinated prevents flu hospitalization in pregnant women
- The use of the Prevnar and Hib vaccines have dramatically cut pediatric mortality
- There was no increased risk of intussusception after use of the Rotarix rotavirus vaccine
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine does protect young women from developing cervical cancer
- Flu vaccines are not associated with an increased risk of epilepsy
- Study finds no immune overload for US kids’ vaccine schedule
- Many parents who initially decline HPV vaccination for their kids, later accept it when they learn more about the vaccine
- Children with autism and their younger siblings tend to be undervaccinated
- The incidence of shingles is declining in kids getting vaccinated with the chicken pox vaccine
Of course, for most of us, none of this is really news. We know that vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary.
And sadly, Betty Bumpers died. We can honor her legacy by continuing her work and helping to make sure that every child gets vaccinated and protected.
More on Vaccines Year in Review 2018
- In Memory of Betty Bumpers
- Betty Bumpers, Campaigner for Childhood Vaccinations, Dies at 93
- The official 2018 top ten list from the Skeptical Raptor
- Gates Foundation – Year in Review 2018
- Official Vaccine Releases: View All by Date 2018
- FDA – Biological Approvals by Year > 2018
- Immunization News and Information
- WHO – Immunization News
- CIDRAP Vaccine News
- ECDC – Immunization News
- Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines
- FDA – Vaxelis
- FDA – HEPLISAV-B
- MMWR – Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Hepatitis B Vaccine with a Novel Adjuvant
- FDA – Gardasil 9
- MMWR – Update: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Postexposure Prophylaxis and for Preexposure Prophylaxis for International Travel
- MMWR – Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus–Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak
- ACIP Recommendations
- WHO – Revised SAGE recommendation on use of dengue vaccine
- CDC – Current Vaccine Shortages & Delays
- Study – Very Low Prevalence of Vaccine Human Papillomavirus Types Among 18- to 35-Year Old Australian Women 9 Years Following Implementation of Vaccination
- CDC – Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Supply for the U.S. 2018-2019 Influenza Season
- Antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears finally faces discipline from the Medical Board of California
- Lessons From California’s Discipline of a Popular Physician for Vaccination Exemptions Without Medical Cause