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MMR vaccine’s non-specific effects: adherence to recommended vaccination schedules protects children against non-vaccination-specific infections too

COPENHAGEN—A study reported in JAMA found that adhering to recommended vaccination schedules protected children not only against the diseases being targeted but also against non-related infections.
A population-based cohort study in Denmark showed that the rate of hospital admissions for infectious diseases were significantly lower in children who — as recommended — received the live vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella after the inactivated vaccine containing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and Haemophilus influenzae B. But children who were vaccinated in the reverse order had significantly higher rates of admission.
First author of the JAMA study, Dr. Signe Sorup Ph D, of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark said: “We found that having MMR (the measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine as the most recent vaccine was associated with a 14 per cent lower rate of admissions with any type of infection. So preferably children should follow the vaccination schedule for all their vaccines.”
Dr Sorup said previous studies in low-income countries had already shown similar results with other live vaccines. Their study also showed that delaying vaccination beyond the scheduled timing — in this case beyond the age of 15 months — also increased hospital admissions for infections.
Editorial commentator Dr. Elizabeth Miller FRCPath, from the UK’s Health Protection Agency observed: “Quite clearly a very clear message coming out is that it’s very important to have your vaccine on time.” But she noted that mechanisms underlying this non-specific association were still unclear.

SOURCE 1: Sørup S. et al., Live Vaccine Against Measles, Mumps and Rubella and the Risk of Hospital Admissions for Non-targeted Infections, JAMA. 2014;311(8):826-835. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.470.
AUTHOR 1: Dr. Signe Sorup
Researcher, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark

SOURCE 2: Nonspecific Effects of Vaccines
David Goldblatt, MBChB, PhD1; Elizabeth Miller, FRCPath2
AUTHOR 2: Professor Elizabeth Miller, FRCPath
Immunisation, Hepatitis and Blood Safety Department, Public Health England, Colindale, London, United Kingdom
LINK 2: Goldblatt D. et al., Nonspecific Effects of Vaccines, JAMA. 2014;311(8):804-805. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.471.

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