HOW OFTEN SHOULD HEALTHY ADULTS RECEIVE TETANUS BOOSTER VACCINES?
Charlene K. Mitchell, MD, MSPH, University of Louisville, Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Louisville, KY and Steven J. McCabe, MD, MSc, Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery, Hand Surgery, Louisville, KY. Purpose: Vaccines are given to healthy individuals with the intention of preventing morbidity and mortality. When the disease the vaccine is targeting is exceedingly rare, like tetanus, the risks associated with immunization must be considered in the overall vaccine policy. Major authorities continue to recommend healthy adults receive tetanus booster vaccinations every 10 years. An alternative strategy of a single booster at 50 years of age may be as effective and safer. This study was done to determine which booster strategy is optimal. Methods: We developed Markov cohort model to simulate the economic and clinical consequences (quality-adjusted life years) of 2 tetanus toxoid booster strategies using a hypothetical cohort of fully immunized 20 year olds: