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Availability of Varicella Vaccine for Children with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

An investigational, live, attenuated varicella vaccine continues to be available free of charge through Merck Research Laboratories (West Point, Pennsylvania) to any physician requesting it for certain pediatric patients (aged 12 months-17 years) with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) (1). However, the source of information about eligibility criteria and vaccine administration has changed (1) and is now available from the Varivax Coordinating Center, Bio-Pharm Clinical Services, Inc., 4 Valley Square, Blue Bell, PA 19422; telephone (215) 283-0897.

An Investigational New Drug application for the vaccine is on file with the Food and Drug Administration. Varicella vaccine is being provided to this group of patients for use through a study protocol to monitor and evaluate safety. Patients must meet specified criteria, including no clinical history of varicella and continuous remission for at least 12 months. The physician must provide information outlined in the protocol, and the protocol and consent form for the study must be approved by the institution's Investigational Review Board.

Reported by: National Immunization Program, CDC.


  1. CDC. Availability of varicella vaccine for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia. MMWR 1992;41:326-7.

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