News at Medicine - July 2012 - Vaccine booster being tested

Vaccine booster being tested
July 23, 2012
Researchers at the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, and Public Health in Eastern Health are working together to test a vaccine booster against important infectious diseases. The project is sponsored by Sanofi Pasteur.

“Adacel is a vaccine which was designed for adolescents and adults to help provide protection against tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough),” explained Dr. Catherine Donovan, associate professor of clinical public health and principal investigator of the study.  “It has been used in the province as part of the school-based public health vaccination program. The study is to determine if Adacel vaccine is safe and effective when given as a repeat dose 10 years later.”

Dr. Donovan said that Newfoundland and Labrador was one of the early adopters of the vaccine for school-based programs and young people in our province are now ready for a booster dose.  “If individuals were immunized with Adacel from nine to 11 years ago they may be eligible to participate in the trial.”

The goal is to recruit about 1,000 participants in the study. Letters have been sent so far to about 400 people who received Adacel 10 years ago as part of the school-based public health vaccination program, inviting their participation in the current study.
The other investigators in the study are Dr. David Allison, Eastern Health; Cathy O’Keefe, Department of Health and Community Services; and Dr. Scott Halperin, IWK Centre, Halifax.

Dr. Donovan said that the tetanus and diphtheria vaccine is currently recommended every 10 years for all adults. “It is now recognized that there is a need to provide ongoing protection for adults against whooping cough disease. Adults can get whooping cough, suffer its complications, and spread the disease to close contacts, including infants too young to be protected by their own vaccinations.”