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Vaccine approved for pneumococcal disease

The Department of Health confirmed today that Pfizer's subsidiary, Wyeth, has been awarded the contract to supply Prevenar 13® (Pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccine [13-valent, adsorbed]) for the UK childhood immunisation programme.

This decision means that infants in the UK will receive the broadest available protection against pneumococcal disease, a leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in children younger than five years of age.

“We are really pleased that children in the UK will benefit from a vaccine which gives broader protection than the current vaccine against pneumococcal disease,” said Sue Davie, Chief Executive Officer, at the Meningitis Trust. “We see the life-changing impact that this disease can have on children and their families and we fully support any advances and improvements.”

Prevenar 13 is based on the scientific foundation of Wyeth's 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Prevenar® (Pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugated vaccine, adsorbed [PCV-7]), which is the global standard as a result of its proven and established immunogenicity, efficacy and safety. Prevenar has been part of the UK childhood immunisation schedule since September 2006.

Prevenar 13 provides protection against 13 of the most common pneumococcal serotypes both globally and in the UK; the seven included in Prevenar (4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F and 23F) and expanded coverage with six additional serotypes (1, 3, 5, 6A, 7F and 19A).

“This is very important for UK children and we are delighted with the decision to choose Prevenar 13,” said Dr Vignesh Rajah, Wyeth Medical Director. “Vaccines are one of the most important tools we have to prevent disease and choosing a vaccine with the broadest protection available demonstrates the UK's commitment to protecting child health.

"Prevenar 13 is the only pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against serotype 19A, a strain associated with serious disease which is prevalent in other countries and on the increase in the UK”.

Prevenar 13 can be introduced with minimum disruption to the UK's immunisation schedule thereby providing more reassurance to parents and immunisers. A UK study has demonstrated that Prevenar 13, in its 2+1 schedule, is compatible with the other vaccines in the childhood immunisation programme, which is an important consideration for the introduction of new vaccines.

In addition, children who have started their course of immunisation with Prevenar can complete it with Prevenar 13 and their response to the seven shared serotypes will not be compromised.

HPA - pneumococcal disease