The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just announced that the nation’s first approved vaccine to protect children from pneumococcal disease (pneumonia) will be available at pharmacies beginning in the summer of 2020.
This vaccine has been shown to increase protection by up to 80 percent in those under age 5 and is safe for children up to the age of 11.
Drugmakers cited a desire to make this vaccine widely available to help prevent pneumococcal disease, which affects an estimated 74,000 people and can be deadly among young children, senior citizens and pregnant women.
“Disease control is one of our primary goals and the development of this new vaccine is an important step in achieving that goal,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “We’re eager to share this development with the community so parents can consider it as an important intervention option for younger children.”
The vaccine will be offered as an optional preventive measure for those who receive the pneumococcal vaccine, which is given to all children to protect them from these pneumococcal-caused diseases.
The disease is caused by seven types of bacteria that are called pneumococcal group A, group B, enterococcus, varicella, and meningococcus. Smallpox (pox) was first recognized in Britain in 1882, but was eliminated in 1979.
In 2015, the first B group pneumococcal vaccine was approved, and in 2016, the first vaccine for varicella was approved for use in children who were 4 to 11 years old. The pneumococcal vaccine was approved for children who are 13 to 18 years old.
The CDC estimates that pneumococcal disease is the third leading cause of pneumonialike illness in children, behind meningitis and influenza, and can lead to permanent blindness, hearing loss, brain damage, or kidney damage.
Once an infection reaches mild stage, most children make a complete recovery within one to three days, although older children and adults can have more serious disease, including meningitis, meningavirus, meningococcal neoplasia, sepsis, and pneumonia.
This vaccine is manufactured by Pfizer Vaccines and Infusions.