New vaccine should reduce respiratory illnesses

| April 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

Matt Pueschel
Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — In partnership with the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. Department of Defense Military Health System has developed a new vaccine to prevent febrile respiratory illness.

This illness is caused by adenovirus types 4 and 7 that often occur among military members.

Adenovirus can cause severe flu-like illness; it’s commonly transmitted person-to-person in sites where people live in close quarters, like basic training, barracks and deployed environments.

The Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research recently approved the Adenovirus Type 4 and Type 7 Live Oral Vaccine.

This vaccine will be used to prevent febrile acute respiratory disease, and it is approved solely for use in military populations, ages 17 through 50.

The current DoD policy is to administer the vaccine only to new military recruits. DoD will be the only user of the vaccine, which is primarily aimed at ensuring the health and safety of new service members.

“It makes for a smoother basic training program; these adenovirus illnesses are preventable,” said John Lucas, deputy director, Medical Countermeasures Directorate, Office of Force Health Protection and Readiness.

DOD will administer the vaccine to recruits during in-processing at basic training locations starting this summer. A single vaccine dose consists of two tablets taken orally; one tablet each for adenovirus types 4 and 7. Each tablet should be swallowed whole, without chewing, to avoid releasing the virus in the upper respiratory tract, before it gets to the intestinal tract where adenovirus replicates and induces immunity.

Lucas said recruits should use proper hygiene and sanitation techniques, such as thorough hand washing after receiving the vaccine during the shedding period.

“The vaccine provides immunity by increasing your antibodies and protects you against disease,” he advised.

The new vaccine is contraindicated in pregnant women who will be exempted from receiving it. Vaccine administration will be postponed in recruits who experience a severe allergic reaction, vomiting or diarrhea, or among those who are unable to swallow a whole tablet. The safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has also not been evaluated in immunodeficiency individuals.

Military Vaccine Agency officials do not anticipate any significant adverse events to occur with the new vaccine, adding that any cases with a possible adverse event would be treated symptomatically through DoD health care providers.

For more information about DoD’s immunization programs and policies, visit www.vaccines.mil or www.fhpr.osd.mil/MedicalCountermeasures.

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Category: Army News Service, Community, Health

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