Booster shot shortage may not harm healthy children

By: Rob Pratt
By: Rob Pratt

Knoxville (WVLT) – The Centers for Disease Control has made an announcement that affects anyone with young children.

One week ago, a drug company recalled more than one million child vaccinations.

Now the CDC recommends booster shots be delayed until manufacturing can catch up with the shortage.

According to their experts, the delay shouldn’t put your child at risk since they should still get protection from their primary vaccination.

The only problem is that making sure everyone can get that first shot, means making changes to the booster schedule.

That booster schedule is part of the HIB vaccination series that helps protect the youngest of children from a wide range of diseases.

Even though there is a shortage, Mary Ann Harrison, the woman in charge of preventative medicine for the Knox County Health Department, says the change won't cause health problems.

"If your child is 12 to 15 months old, that's generally when we give a booster vaccination and that simply extends the immunity,” Harrison said. “For right now we'll hold off on that booster to make sure all children who need their primary series get covered."

Not all babies will have to wait for the booster.

Those who are especially vulnerable to disease will get the shots as scheduled.

"There are children that are at risk because they have an immunity deficiency problem, they don't have a spleen or maybe they have Sickle Cell disease, those children at high risk will get a booster,” said Harrison. “All the other children will get enough immunity. Just by aging, they're going to keep on getting immunity."

Also, none of the vials that may have been contaminated were actually used and at the Knox County Health Department and at other doctors' offices, there should still be enough doses to take care of primary vaccinations."

“Everybody should get their immunizations on time, people should not postpone them,” Harrison said. “Start at two months."

The CDC says the shortage of vaccines may last several months, but a second manufacturer says it's working hard to provide enough additional vaccines to help cover the shortage created by the recall.

As always, if you have questions, talk to your child's doctor.

He or she can let you know exactly what your child needs.

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