First, to be clear — Merck will henceforth only sell the vaccines as a single dose combo, called M-M-R® II (Live). Apparently, there will be no way to procure each vaccine as a separately stocked item.
For the moment — until it is suggested otherwise — I will accept at face-value the rationale in the Whitehouse Station statement from November 17, 2010, that Merck has permanently ceased production of its individually-dosed Measles/Mumps/Rubella live vaccines “for science-based” reasons. Still — I’ve scoured the wires, and near as I can tell, no news outlet has reported this permanent cessation. Here it is, as a PDF file (see footnotes to the table) — and I can confirm that those footnotes were not there on November 1, 2010, when last I updated the readership, on vaccine outages:
. . . .Monovalent vaccines no longer available for measles, mumps, rubella –
Based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), professional societies, scientific leaders, and customers, Merck has decided not to resume production of ATTENUVAX® (Measles Virus Vaccine Live), MUMPSVAX® (Mumps Virus Vaccine Live), and MERUVAX® II (Rubella Virus Vaccine Live). This science-based decision will support vaccination of the largest group of appropriate individuals. Merck will continue to focus necessary resources to ensure that they can help meet current and future global public health needs for their combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, M-M-R® II (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Virus Vaccine Live). . . .
So, Merck will henceforth make only its childhood combo-vaccine. Interesting, but I’d bet that the reimbursement scheme has changed — making it more cost-effective to sell only the M-M-R® II combo vaccine for children. Let’s see what others report, now.