Placebo-controlled trial of varicella vaccine given with or after measles-mumps-rubella vaccine

Janet A. Englund, Carmen S. Suarez, Joan Kelly, Douglas Y. Tate, Henry H Balfour

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57 Scopus citations


A placebo-controlled study of varicella vaccine given either with or 6 weeks after measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine was undertaken in healthy children (mean age 16 months). A total of 101 varicella-zoster virus antibody-negative children completed the study. Serologic response to MMR vaccine was excellent (nearly 100%) and not significantly affected by the administration of varicella vaccine. Seroconversion in response to varicella vaccine was excellent and was not affected by MMR vaccine. No significant differences in fever or skin rashes between those receiving MMR vaccine with varicella vaccine or MMR vaccine with placebo were noted, but fever and skin rashes were more frequent after the first immunization (MMR with varicella vaccine or MMR vaccine with placebo) compared with the second (varicella vaccine or placebo injection). Symptoms of fatigue, irritability, and upper respiratory tract infections were more common after MMR vaccine was given regardless of whether it was given simultaneously with varicella vaccine or placebo injection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The attenuated Oka strain of varicella vaccine, developed in 1974 by Takahashi et al., 1 has been safe, immunogenic, and protective after exposure to natural disease in both immunocompromised and healthy children. 2-~ When combined with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, now used routinely in children aged 15 to 18 months, V vaccine was shown to be immunogenic and safe in a small study that compared MMR vaccine combined with V vaccine and MMR vaccine alone, followed 6 weeks later by V vaccine. 6 A combination MMR + V vaccine would be more cost-effective and convenient than vaccines administered separately, and it would be preferable if shown to have both an Supported by grants from Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories and the Minnesota Medical Foundation. Presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Pediatric Society/Society for Pediatric Research, Washington, D.C., May 3, 1988. Submitted for publication June 1, 1988; accepted Aug. 3, 1988. Reprint requests: Henry H. Balfour, Jr., MD, Box 437 UMHC, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455.


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