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6/21/2002

Tetanus Booster Doses Can Resume

Cheryl A. Thompson

Routine vaccination against tetanus and diphtheria can resume for adolescents and adults, federal health authorities announced in today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Aventis Pasteur, the sole manufacturer of tetanus and diphtheria toxoids adsorbed (Td) for the U.S. market, has produced enough of the vaccine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to rescind its May 2001 recommendation to defer routine booster doses. There had been a shortage of Td since the fourth quarter of 2000, prompted by decreased production, another company's decision to stop making the vaccine, and the 11 months required for manufacture.

Health care providers, said CDC, should arrange for vaccination of patients whose booster dose of Td had been deferred. Also, schools may resume their requirement for children 11 years or older to have a Td booster dose in order to attend class.

CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that adolescents and adults receive a booster dose of Td every 10 years. According to a report in the May 7 Annals of Internal Medicine, about 53 percent of U.S. adults in 1988–94 lacked sufficient antibodies to tetanus and diphtheria to protect against those diseases.