"New" Smallpox Vaccine for people w/ Eczema

Discussion in 'DoDMERB' started by BDHuff09, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    I was digging through the internet and found that a Danish company called Bavarian Nordic is in the process of developing a smallpox vaccine for people with eczema/atopic dermatitis:

    http://www.bavarian-nordic.com/biodefence/smallpox/imvamune.aspx

    And, that they have within the past two months been given a two year, 228 million award from the US government to produce the vaccine

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-04-16/bavarian-nordic-wins-228-million-u-dot-s-dot-smallpox-vaccine-award

    So, for any of the doctors or others on this forum with a large amount of DoDMERB knowledge: What effect will this have on the medical admissions standards of the military? If anything comes of this vaccine, will the likelihood of receiving a waiver for eczema/atopic dermatitis increase in the coming years?

    I ask this as a concerned applicant who has had mild/moderate eczema for many years. I have it on my hands, feet, and forearms, but it has decreased in severity with every year and I can successfully control it with nonprescription lotion and healthy skin habits. I have wanted to attend a Service Academy and be an officer in the military since I was in middle school, however I was very disheartened to learn that very few waivers are granted for eczema. This is very stressful for me as there is nothing I can do it get rid of/change the condition that I have and yet it has the potential to get in the way of a dream that has given me purpose in life for many years.
     
  2. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    The military is usually pretty slow about this kind of stuff..... Heck, they're just now starting to accept LASIK and PRK surgeries and those have been around for 20 years.
     
  3. Tigger

    Tigger Member

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    Went to the first website and here is the quote I believe you are referring to: Individuals contraindicated for conventional smallpox vaccines: e.g. individuals with HIV, people with atopic dermatitis and members of their households. This typically represents 25% of the general population (Kemper et al, 2002)

    So, the vaccine would be appropriate for someone with atopic dermatitis (a.k.a. eczema) to receive so they would be protected against smallpox. This would not treat atopic dermatitis.

    Unfortunately, individuals with atopic dermatitis can sometimes experience asthma as well and I believe that this is the reason it is disqualifying. You would need to go through the application process before knowing whether or not you could receive a waiver for your particular condition.

    Good luck!

    QUOTE=BDHuff09;317012]I was digging through the internet and found that a Danish company called Bavarian Nordic is in the process of developing a smallpox vaccine for people with eczema/atopic dermatitis:

    http://www.bavarian-nordic.com/biodefence/smallpox/imvamune.aspx

    And, that they have within the past two months been given a two year, 228 million award from the US government to produce the vaccine

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-04-16/bavarian-nordic-wins-228-million-u-dot-s-dot-smallpox-vaccine-award

    So, for any of the doctors or others on this forum with a large amount of DoDMERB knowledge: What effect will this have on the medical admissions standards of the military? If anything comes of this vaccine, will the likelihood of receiving a waiver for eczema/atopic dermatitis increase in the coming years?

    I ask this as a concerned applicant who has had mild/moderate eczema for many years. I have it on my hands, feet, and forearms, but it has decreased in severity with every year and I can successfully control it with nonprescription lotion and healthy skin habits. I have wanted to attend a Service Academy and be an officer in the military since I was in middle school, however I was very disheartened to learn that very few waivers are granted for eczema. This is very stressful for me as there is nothing I can do it get rid of/change the condition that I have and yet it has the potential to get in the way of a dream that has given me purpose in life for many years.[/QUOTE]
     
  4. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    I understand the vaccine does not treat eczema, the reason eczema can be an issue in the military is because it can have a potentially deadly reaction to the smallpox vaccine in some cases, and this is a reason it is disqualifying. This new vaccine is supposed to alleviate some of that risk.

    To my knowledge there is some relationship between eczema and asthma, only in that there happens to be a higher instance of their simultaneous occurence in the same individual.

    I was just curious as to what that would mean for eczema waivers if the whole smallpox thusng wasn't an issue anymore
     
  5. JMS

    JMS Member

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    +1
     
  6. Tigger

    Tigger Member

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    I'm pretty sure that a vaccine reaction is not the only reason that atopic dermatitis is disqualifying.

     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with Tigger. I highly doubt that is the biggie.

    I would think it is other things regarding the ability to deploy. You have stated hands and feet. Not a doc, but I would think wearing boots for 18 hrs in a high heat location with dry area, it is going to inflame your condition. Our DD has it, and every summer she gets it behind her knees, and in between her fingers. Scratches like crazy if she is not using meds.(OTC), to the point she has scratched her skin raw. Now add in if she did this in Iraq, where sand storms are frequent. Can you say infection? I know I can!

    The question becomes when you are deployed to a remote location will you need meds for JIC? What happens if you run out of them?

    It becomes a question, can they deploy you anywhere in the world, or do they have limited options regarding deploying you? Will this impact the lives of others serving shoulder to shoulder with you.

    DQ is not personal and just about you. It is also about the mission and everyone that will be involved completing the mission. One cog of the wheel out of place, and the wheel is going to work differently.

    I also agree with Strength, the military is slow at what is accepted regarding procedures, including vaccinations. The main reason why is because once AD, if there are long term effects for any procedure, they are on the dime for the medical costs for the rest of your life.

    They take you with a pre-existing condition, than they are on the dime there too because they knew of it.
     
  8. Jcc123

    Jcc123 Member

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    The high potential for vaccine-related reactions actually is the primary reason that eczema is a disqualifier. It will be interesting to see if the new vaccine has an impact - although if it does, I would expect it to be several years down the road.
     
  9. Tigger

    Tigger Member

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    Exactly:thumb:

    Atopic dermatitis, when not well controlled, can lead to serious complications (e.g., infection). It takes diligence and vigilance to keep it controlled (and sometimes even that isn't effective) and in a military environment I can imagine that would be an incredible challenge.

    As Pima says, it is not personal and there are many factors that lead to conditions being disqualifying.

     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't want the OP to give up, or think they will automatically go through the DQ, thus waiver process.

    The fact is the waiver process is case by case. The only way they will know how it will play out is to roll the dice and apply.

    I bet if I was invested in this issue, I could find multiple threads where eczema has been easily waived, and in some cases not even a DQ.

    You have hurdles in front of you, the 1st is not the exam. It is to be deemed competitive by an SA or ROTC. Due to the cost of the exams, they are holding off the exams to later on. If they don't deem you competitive they may never request a DoDMERB exam.

    Pay more attention to your application because you have complete control over that issue. Make it as strong as you can. Don't post your stats on this thread as a reply. Post it on SA/ROTC threads. For all we know and you know, SA/ROTC scholarships are a reach. Most common saying here from candidates is what you said....
    *I have wanted to attend a Service Academy and be an officer in the military since I was in middle school
    .

    Not trying to be rude, just trying to illustrate everyone that finds this site, typically has wanted it just as bad as you, and as long as you, maybe even longer. 15K+ open applications, and in the end it is whittled down to 10% of those applicants. It is the biggest hurdle for you right now.

    For DoDMERB purposes get all of your medical records in order JIC they give you a remedial or a DQ. That is the only control you have. Researching a vaccine approved outside of the US is IMPO a waste of time.

    Do you realize there are drugs in the US that kids take everyday for acne, approved by the FDA is a DQ? Acccutane comes to mind. Just because the FDA has said it is safe, like Strength said, doesn't mean the military feels the same.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  11. Strength and Honor

    Strength and Honor Member

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    And even if the waiver process fails, there are always other ways to serve. Intel analysts for private companies are in high demand, the government always needs some smart people. Don't give up hope on serving your country.
     
  12. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    Thank you all for the responses. I understand that there are other ways to serve my country if I am absolutely unable to serve. I realize that I need to calm down about it, but sometimes the uncertainty is quite stressful.
     
  13. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    That doesn't mean I am not going to try my hardest to get in to an SA/ROTC program if that means applying multiple times. If something isn't waived initially, is there a chance it will be waived the next year for a reapplicant?
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    DoDMERB exams are valid for 2 yrs.

    IOTW, they will not give you another exam the following yr., because the original exam is still valid.

    If you get the exam Sept 1st 2013, it is valid until Sept 1st 2015. Sept 2nd 2015 is when you will get another exam.

    Waivers are yr to yr., but with the budget cuts for the next 9 yrs., I would not bet on a waiver a yr later. It can happen.

    Again, just apply and go for it.
     

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