Reviewer: David I. Bernstein, MD (University of Cincinnati College of Medicine)
Description: In this third edition, the editors have provided an even more comprehensive review of the subject of vaccines than previously (the second edition appeared in 1994). The editors include everything from manufacturing processes to general immunization practices with additional discussions for each vaccine.
Purpose: The preface does not contain a description of the purpose, but this book is clearly meant to provide a comprehensive description of vaccines. This is definitely a worthy objective, especially in this era when biotechnology is churning out new candidate antigens, pharmaceutical interest is high, and vaccines have taken on a more political dimension. The objectives are certainly met and exceeded; timely discussions for each vaccine are provided, and excellent introductory chapters in immunology, vaccine manufacturing, and general immunization practices are included.
Audience: The book is aimed at several audiences. The chapters are complete enough to provide an excellent introduction to each topic for the student, resident, or practitioner but also detailed enough to add to the knowledge of infectious disease experts. There is no doubt as to the qualification of the editor and most of the contributors.
Features: The book contains a comprehensive review of vaccines written by authorities in the field. Several chapters serve as an excellent introduction to the field of vaccinology. The inclusion of chapters on manufacturing process, quality assurance, regulatory issues, legal issues, and new technologies, in addition to reviews of all licensed vaccines, all contribute to make this an excellent text. Each chapter is well illustrated and referenced and provides an introduction to the pathogen and clinical disease manifestations preceding a comprehensive review of the vaccine. The average reference list must approach 300.
Assessment: This is a superbly written and illustrated review of vaccines. This edition is considerably enlarged with important new additions reviewing immunology, production practices, new technologies, etc., without compromising the in-depth discussion of each licensed vaccine. Chapters on immunization for healthcare workers, for foreign travel, and immunization of the immunocompromised further enhance the practical aspect of this edition. This book will be a valuable addition to the library of both the novice and the expert in the field of vaccinology. There is no other book that covers the field of vaccine as thoroughly or enjoyably as this one.