Recommends Prioritization for Varicella (Chickenpox)
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
on Wednesday, February
20, 2002, voted to recommend
prioritizing use of limited supplies of varicella
vaccine because of a shortage in the United
- The ACIP recommended that, while the
shortage persists, all vaccine providers in the United States should
delay vaccination of children 12 - 18 months until 18 months or the two
- For children whose dose of varicella
vaccine is delayed, vaccine providers should implement a call-back
system when vaccine becomes available.
Prior to introduction of varicella vaccine
in 1995, varicella was widespread in the United States, causing 4 million
cases, 11,000 hospitalizations, and 100 deaths each year. In the first half
of 2001, national coverage for varicella vaccine was 75 percent for children
19 - 35 months of age. Since implementation of the varicella program in the
United States, data from Texas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles indicates
there has been a dramatic decline in varicella cases in all age groups and a
decline in varicella hospitalizations.
Prior to the February 20, 2002
recommendations, ACIP recommended children should get one dose of
varicella vaccine between 12 and 18 months of age, or at any age after 18
months if they have never had chickenpox or the vaccine. People not
vaccinated until 13 years of age or older should get two doses four
to eight weeks apart.
The duration of the shortage is uncertain,
but shortage will likely last until late spring or early summer of 2002.
and answers on 2002
varicella vaccine shortage
(Mar. 7, 2002)