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FOR RELEASE: July 24, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Shortage of DTaP Vaccine Eases - TD Shortage Continues

Oklahoma's children may be disappointed to learn that the supply of DTaP [diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (whooping cough)] vaccine is returning to normal after a recent shortage.

The shortage prompted the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) to postpone the 4th dose of DTaP, usually given at 15 to 18 months of age. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that vaccine manufacturers have increased production and can now supply enough vaccine to return to the routine 5-dose schedule. Day care and preschool requirements for the 4th dose, which were temporarily suspended due to the shortage, are now back in force and health officials are relieved that the shortage didn't last longer.

The combined DTaP vaccine is recommended for all children beginning at 2 months of age and continuing at 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months, with a final booster dose due between 4 and 6 years of age, before children start kindergarten.

The OSDH urges parents of children who missed the 4th DTaP due to the shortage of the past few months to contact their physician or local health department to obtain the missed dose.

And if they haven't already, parents may want to check their children's records to make sure they are ready for school and day care before the back-to-school rush. Oklahoma day care law requires children to be up-to-date for their age with DTaP, polio, Hib, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, and rubella, varicella (chickenpox) and hepatitis A vaccines. Oklahoma's school immunization law requires all children entering kindergarten to complete or be in the process of completing immunizations for DTaP, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella, varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B and hepatitis A vaccines.

Unfortunately, the nationwide shortage of Td (adult tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine is expected to continue through the end of this year. This vaccine is used for booster doses for all people age 7 years and older and for people 7 and older who never received a series of a DTP vaccine as children. To ensure vaccine is available for individuals at highest risk, the OSDH is urging all county health departments and physicians to delay all routine Td boosters for adolescents and adults until 2002.

Physicians and county health departments are being asked to limit the use of Td vaccine to the following groups: 1) persons traveling to a country where the risk of diphtheria is high; 2) persons requiring tetanus vaccination following a wound; 3) persons who have received less than 3 doses of any vaccine containing tetanus and diphtheria toxoids in their lifetime; and 4) pregnant women who have not been vaccinated with Td during the preceding 10 years. Adolescents and adults are reminded that it is important to keep a record of the date of their last Td vaccine.

Parents who aren't sure if their child received the 4th DTaP vaccine or who have questions about the DTaP vaccine may contact their physician or local county health department. Physicians, clinics, or individuals who have questions about the availability or use of Td vaccine may contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health Immunization Service at (405) 271-4073.


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