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Advisory Panel Recommends Seniors to get Pfizer’s Prevnar 13 Vaccine

Update Date: Aug 14, 2014 10:10 AM EDT

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is recommending adults aged 65 and older to get the Prevnar 13 vaccine, according to Pfizer Inc., who manufactures the vaccine. The vaccine is capable of protecting seniors against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia.

"They (ACIP) are probably the most senior body in the United States that makes recommendations for use of vaccines, and once they make a recommendation, that is what insurers follow," said Susan Silbermann, president of Pfizer Vaccines, according to FOX News.

The ACIP specifically recommends seniors who have never been vaccinated against pneumococcal disease to get a dose of PCV13 followed by a second dose of PPSV23. PPSV23 is Merck & Co.'s leading Pneumovax vaccine. Seniors who have gotten one or more doses of PPSV23 but have not received a dose of PCV13 should get one dose of PCV13. The current recommendations will be revaluated in 2018 if the ACIP and the director of the CDC approve routine PCV13 use for seniors aged 65 and older.

"Immunization with Prevnar 13 can play an important role in helping to reduce the incidence and burden of vaccine-type pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease among adults 65 years of age or older," said Luis Jodar, Ph.D., vice president, Vaccines, Global Medicines Development Group and Scientific Affairs according to the Wall Street Journal. "This additional ACIP meeting recognizes the importance of implementing an adult recommendation for Prevnar 13 in advance of the U.S. influenza season, the time of year when this population is most likely to be considering vaccination."

Within the U.S., roughly 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia annually with about 440,000 cases occurring in people over the age of 50. About 50 percent of the cases require hospitalizations.

"Estimates have placed the yearly direct and indirect costs of adult hospitalizations and outpatient cases due to pneumococcal pneumonia in the United States at nearly $5 billion,"(4) said Susan Silbermann, President, Pfizer Vaccines. "As health care professionals in the US begin to implement this new ACIP recommendation, we believe that Prevnar 13 can now help prevent vaccine-type pneumococcal pneumonia in older adults and has the potential to provide an important public health benefit. Pfizer remains committed to working with the healthcare and public health communities to raise awareness of the importance of adult immunization among consumers."

The new recommendations will be sent to the CDC director and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to be reviewed. If approved, the details of the recommendations will be published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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