Written by By Mimi Cycles, CNN
It has always been controversial. A recently developed variant of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has apparently resulted in a decrease in kids being diagnosed with whooping cough, although this is contested by many anti-vaccination advocates.
The other source of concern for many parents, however, is a particular mutation of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine known as the Omicron variant (OVA). The OVA is considered so challenging that some parents have not vaccinated their kids.
The new evidence may help to calm their fears. New research suggests the OVA is virtually certain to be significantly less severe than the MMR — but the researchers don’t know how many of these babies have subsequently gone on to have whooping cough.
Tina Stowell, a researcher with Johns Hopkins University, told CNN: “We think that if the OVA vaccine resulted in a WHO-1 versus WHO-2 [pandemic] disease [which occurs after the MMR vaccination] we’d see it, and we haven’t seen it.”
The most recent information provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Stowell concerns back-to-back sampling of 2000 children aged 6-11.
The researchers also found a higher incidence of whooping cough (pertussis) amongst children receiving the OVA vaccine rather than the MMR.
“We’ve found that cases were 6.6 times higher in children who got the OVA compared to children who got the MMR,” Stowell said. “However, this study didn’t look at whether this 6.6% rise was because of a herd effect and individuals contracting the illness out of circulation.”
“It’s a bit hard to determine whether these are clinically meaningful and meaningful enough to convince parents to follow their recommended immunization schedule.”
On a positive note, the OVA-vaccine appears to be both more effective and less toxic than the MMR.
So what is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) take on the issue? Does it agree with the new study findings?
Steve Payne, director of immunization at WHO, told CNN: “We’ve taken great care in any new vaccine introductions to take into account the expected adverse outcomes.
“That’s why our regulatory agency, the European Medicines Agency, is such a strong supporter of the use of this particular vaccine.
“The evaluation committee we have is comprised of experts from multiple different countries and all are willing to recommend the vaccine in the absence of adverse outcomes such as a rise in congenital malformations or miscarriage, in children who have not received the MMR vaccine.”