Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cost effective medicine

"Hospitalizations decreased 88 percent, and medical visits by almost 60 percent. Medical expenditures decreased by about 75 percent," said study co-author Dr. Abigail Shefer, a medical epidemiologist at the National Immunization Program run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Original study is here (and it is impressive). Of course for some reason the study doesn't include medical care for all the kids rendered autistic by this vaccine (sarcasm, it is thimerisol free).

The one caveat is that it is unclear how long-lived protection from the vaccine virus will be. Since it is significantly attenuated (that is weakened) compared to wild-type, it is likely that protection will wane (unlike infection with the wild-type strain which provides life-long immunity). The good news is that zoster (reactivation of infection which lies dormant in nerve cells) seems to be significantly less severe in people who have been vaccinated. At worst, waning immunity will mean a booster shot every 10-20 years.


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