A new study, recentlyreported inthe New EnglandJournal of Medicine,questions whetherAmericans reallyneed booster shotsso frequently.
The researchersexamined 630 storedblood samples from45 patients. Theylooked at each sampleand analyzed thedecay rate for antibodiesfrom vaccinesincluding measles,mumps, rubella,and tetanus. Thefindings showed surprisinglyhigh levels of disease-resistingantibodies in the blood of patients administeredvaccinations years earlier.Vaccines trigger antibody creation bygiving patients a small dose of the virusthat creates the disease.
The persistence of the antibodies suggeststhat current guidelines for boostershots for some common conditionscould be revised, according to the study.For example, tetanus shots could beadministered once approximately every30 years instead of the current 10-yearrecommendation. ?If we can continue toimprove our vaccines, someday wemight be able to give one shot and givelifelong immunity,? said study authorMark K. Slifka, PhD.