US group advises cuts in post-exposure rabies jabs
U.S. immunization advisers have recommended reducing the number of rabies shots needed to protect humans after exposure to a rabid animal in a move to conserve vaccine supplies.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices or ACIP, which advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, voted on Wednesday to change the vaccine schedule from five doses to four, eliminating the last shot.
The move was intended to conserve vaccine supplies in the event of a vaccine shortage, which occurred from 2007 to 2009.
Studies have shown that people are protected against rabies if they are treated with immune globulin, a treatment made from the blood of vaccinated people, and four doses of vaccine.
Novartis AG makes RabAvert and Sanofi-Aventis makes Imovax rabies vaccines that can be used to protect people before or after exposure to a rabid animal.
Renovations of a Sanofi production plant in France in 2007 created supply problems, and Novartis was unable to meet the increased demand, forcing it to limit use of its vaccine IN 2008 to post-exposure use only, according to the CDC website.
Novartis’ RabAvert is now available for use before and after rabies exposure, according to the CDC.
The new recommendation will become final once it is published in CDC’s weekly report on death and disease.
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