Vaccinations for Japanese encephalitis are expected to resume later this year for children 3 to 6 years old using a newly developed vaccine, according to a draft advisory compiled by a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel.
Routine vaccinations were effectively suspended in May 2005 following a report that a junior high school girl who was vaccinated the previous year had developed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.
It would be the first time in about four years that vaccinations have been administered, but a full resumption is several years away because supplies of the new vaccine are limited and its effectiveness is not yet confirmed in children aged 9 and above.
The panel planned to compile a final proposal Thursday.
The draft proposal says the new vaccine is ready for routine vaccinations, which are paid for by the government, saying, “there remains a risk of Japanese encephalitis in the country and the role of the vaccine is important.”
Japanese encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes acute inflammation in parts of the brain and spinal cord, leading to symptoms such as headaches and impaired consciousness.
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