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New MMR-V vaccine includes protection against chickenpox

20 May 2010

New combination paediatric vaccine Priorix Tetra™ offers more convenient protection against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (Chickenpox) – the four common childhood

Kuala Lumpur, 13 April 2010 – A new vaccine offering more convenient protection against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and Varicella (chickenpox) or MMRV, without the hassle of an extra injection, is now available for children aged 9 months to 12 years.

Priorix Tetra™, from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK), combines chickenpox vaccine with the two mandatory doses required for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), for better, more sustained protection against chickenpox.

Measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox are four serious viral diseases that threaten the health of millions of individuals worldwide and cause enormous distress. In 2008 alone, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded 334 reported cases of measles in Malaysia and an estimated 164,000 deaths globally . While death from mumps is rare, the disease can be associated with a number of complications and still occurs in developed countries . According to the WHO and UNICEF, more than 830,000 cases of rubella were reported by 123 countries in 2001 , whilst an estimated 60 million cases of chickenpox occurred annually worldwide prior to large-scale varicella vaccination .

The current MMR vaccine is a compulsory vaccine included in the Malaysia Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) since 2002. It is given to children in two doses – once at 12 months and the second at 7 years of age.

Combining the chickenpox vaccine together with the mandatory MMR vaccine encourages stronger compliance in vaccinating against the varicella virus which causes chickenpox, and also reduces the number of injections for the child.

Dr Teoh Yee Leong, Consultant Public Health Physician and Director, Clinical Research and Development and Medical Affairs, GSK Biologicals, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei said: “Priorix Tetra™ provides parents the convenience of one injection alternative to the currently two injections for children to be effectively protected against the four diseases at one go. With fewer injections, a child need not endure more pain than necessary, thereby also reducing the apprehension faced by parents in subjecting their child to these vaccinations.”

“Malaysia’s vaccination programme is very comprehensive, and the crowded vaccination schedule can sometimes be very trying for both the child and parent,” explained Dato’ Dr Musa. “This option offers parents a cost-effective alternative as it saves parents an additional trip to the clinic, and the cost of a separate vaccine.”

In the United States, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has in fact advocated routine childhood chickenpox immunisation and officially recommended a two-dose schedule beginning mid-2007 .

In addition, existing clinical data also shows that the rate of ‘breakthrough cases’ where children who have been vaccinated with a single dose of chickenpox vaccine yet still contracted the virus, is decreased following two doses of vaccine .

“There is growing recognition that a single dose of chickenpox vaccine is not sufficient in some cases to produce effective, long-lasting protection against the virus,” said Dato’ Dr Musa.

This article was first published in on 15 April 2010 . Please download the full article below for further reading...

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