Friday, March 13, 2009

Vaccine Activism

You may or may not have heard the recent news that vaccine manufacturer Merck is stopping production of its monovalent versions of the MMR vaccine. While the official vaccine schedule recommends the MMR vaccine (and now even the MMR-V, adding chicken pox to the shot), up until now, parents have had the option to give their children separate shots for measles, mumps, and rubella (or choose only one or two of the three).

Among other reasons for doing this, some people develop immunity naturally to one or two of the three diseases (determined by a titer blood test), so getting all three in the MMR is overkill. Other people simply prefer to space out their kids' vaccines, rather than giving several all at once. However, if Merck stops offering separate measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines, parents will have fewer choices--it will be all or nothing.

I've recently been told that Merck is taking calls from consumers and will be evaluating demand before making a decision about continuing to manufacture single-dose vials. If you are a parent who wants choices when it comes to the dozens of vaccines given to children, I would really appreciate it if you would call Merck and request that they resume manufacturing the single dose vials of the MMR.

This call was very simple to make yesterday--it took me less than one minute. The number is (800) 672-6372; press 2 at the first prompt and 3 at the second prompt. You can just tell the representative that you would like to have the option to have the individual vaccinations, for the reasons stated above.


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