New York — Pfizer’s Prevnar 13 vaccine for pneumonia has been recommended for use by patients 65 years old and up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization practices advisory committee. Prevnar 13 is a PCV13 immunization, meaning it protects against 13 variations of the pneumococcal disease.
“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,” Luis Jodar, Global Medicines Development Group and Scientific Affairs’ VP vaccines said. “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.”
The committee recommends that the vaccine be given to people ages 65 years and older who have never been vaccinated against pneumonia, and those who have previously received the other common pneumonia vaccine, PPSV23 (known as Pneumovax 23, which Merck distributes). Additionally, it advises that those who receive a Prevnar vaccine should also be given a PPSV23 vaccine.
The recommendations have the potential to alleviate the $5 billion that a 2011 study found pneumonia to cost, either directly or indirectly.
“As healthcare professionals in the United States 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 vaccines president Susan Silbermann said. "Pfizer remains committed to working with the healthcare and public health communities to raise awareness of the importance of adult immunization among consumers.”
The recommendations are now awaiting approval by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the head of the CDC.