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Posted March. 06, 2006 03:01,   


Starting last year, chicken pox and influenza vaccines were included among the basic vaccinations for children subsidized by the government.

Streptococcus pneumonia vaccine and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine are not subsidized, however, unlike in the U.S.

Catholic University Our Lady of Mercy Hospital pediatrics professor Kang Jin-han says, “A streptococcus pneumonia vaccine is effective in treating children under the age of two or those who often suffer respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia or tympanitis.” Kang further emphasized that because children often take antibiotics to combat the above ailments, vaccines can be useful in preventing one from developing resistance to them.

Recently, a growing number of adults are suffering from hepatitis A. In order to prevent that from happening, a person should be vaccinated against hepatitis A when young. The Korean Pediatrics Society highly recommends a hepatitis A vaccine.

Typhoid vaccines and vaccines against epidemic hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome are also available, but only called for in epidemic-stricken areas.

New Vaccines-

“DTP+Polio” vaccine, which is being clinically tested at 10 domestic hospitals, is known for its simplicity. This is a so-called “mixed vaccine” because it prevents diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio with one shot.

A “MMR + Chicken Pox” vaccine, recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is also notable for its convenience. It protects a person against measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox with one injection.

A rotavirus vaccine, which will become available in Korea in the near future, is another unusual vaccine. This vaccine prevents the rotavirus, which has been indicated as a cause of diarrhea in infants and young children.

The MSD company’s rotavirus vaccine RotaTeq, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Rotarix, have both been approved by the U.S. FDA and the European Medicines Agency. Rotarix has been approved in 24 countries, including Mexico and Brazil, and is currently on sale there.

Vaccines preventing incurable diseases are being introduced as well. A HPV vaccine against cervical cancer is typical of this new wave of vaccines.

A pancreatic cancer vaccine that stimulates one’s immune system in order to remove cancer cells remaining after treatment has raised the cancer’s two-year survival rate from 42 percent to 76 percent.

Among gene vaccines currently under development, AIDS vaccines are the most well known. In Korea, a Dong-A Pharmaceutical hepatitis B gene vaccine has entered its first clinical trial stage as well.

Jin-Han Lee likeday@donga.com