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KAISER PERMANENTE SELECTED TO TEST CHICKEN POX VACCINE

 KAISER PERMANENTE SELECTED TO TEST CHICKEN POX VACCINE
 SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente recently was selected to evaluate a chicken pox vaccine for children 1-12 years of age by the Merck Co., the manufacturer of the vaccine. Some 600 children will receive this special vaccine at seven Kaiser Northern California medical centers.
 While chicken pox is not usually a serious disease in healthy children, the disease can cause complications such as pneumonia, Reyes Syndrome, brain infection and sometimes death. An estimated 80 percent of children between the ages of five and 10 get chicken pox.
 Chicken pox also presents a problem to working parents who often must stay home with their children, as the highly contagious disease requires that the child be isolated.
 The vaccine, already administered to 7,000 healthy children nationwide, has shown in other studies to be safe and effective, said Henry Shinefield, M.D., co-director with Steven Black, M.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center. However, Dr. Shinefield added that the dosage frequency and consistency of vaccine from lot to lot still needs assessment. "It's definitely a disease worth preventing," he said, "particularly for those children who have a weak immune system."
 The children will be part of a six-month research project conducted by the organization's five-year-old Pediatric Vaccine Study Center.
 Kaiser Permanente's large pediatric population of 704,698 children and teens under age 19, including nearly 30,000 infants under one year, is ideal for the widespread field-testing needed before a vaccine can be approved for general use as safe and effective. Kaiser Permanente also has a diverse membership, with 15 medical centers and 15 medical offices in Northern California.
 Between them, Drs. Black and Shinefield have many years of research experience in pediatric infections and vaccines. Most Recently, they directed two studies of Haemophilus influenza type b vaccine in more than 160,000 infants and toddlers. Those studies paved the way for the approval of the first new vaccine for young infants since the advent of the oral poliovirus vaccine in 1962.
 Last year, the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center received a $4.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to establish a database to track the immunization patterns of some 100,000 children. Kaiser will use this tracking system to monitor the consistency of lots for the chicken pox vaccine.
 BIOS


STEVEN BLACK, M.D.
 Dr. Black is co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center, a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Oakland, and an associate investigator in the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. Since 1978, he has also been an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Pediatrics Department, and an assistant research physician for UC's George Hooper Foundation.
 Dr. Black is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of America. HENRY SHINEFIELD, M.D.
 Dr. Shinefield is co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Pediatric Vaccine Study Center, emeritus chief of the Pediatrics Division of The Permanente Medical Group, and a pediatrician at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco. He is a member of the Commration and the National Institutes of Health. His other appointments include clinical professor of Pediatrics and Dermatology at the University of California, and an attending physician at UC's Moffit Hospital.
 Dr. Shinefield is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, where he is both a member of the board of directors and an examiner. MEDICAL CENTERS/OFFICES INVOLVED IN VACCINE STUDY Hayward Oakland San Francisco San Jose Santa Clara Santa Rosa Walnut Creek
 -0- 1/21/92
 /CONTACT: Kirsten Kling of Kaiser Permanente, 415-202-3520/ CO: Kaiser Permanente ST: California IN: HEA SU:


DG -- SF005 -- 2002 01/21/92 15:51 EST
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Date:Jan 21, 1992
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