New pneumococcal vaccine as safe as previous version, study finds

Kaiser Permanente study compared 13-valent, seven-valent vaccines

PASADENA, Calif. — A new vaccine against pneumococcal disease appears as safe as an older one, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente and published Wednesday in the journal Vaccine, compared the new 13-valent vaccine with the seven-valent one used before 2010. The Food and Drug Administration approved the newer vaccine, called PCV13, in 2010 after a series of trials. The valent number refers to the number of varieties of pneumococcal disease the vaccine prevents.

Researchers for Kaiser Permanente analyzed electronic medical records for 600,000 children aged 1 month to 2 years who received PCV13 over a two-year period, finding no increased risk of harmful side effects in children taking the new vaccine compared with those taking the older vaccine. Funding for the study came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"It is important that children receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as it provides protection against very serious and potentially fatal infections, including meningitis and bloodstream infections," lead study author Hung Fu Tseng said. "The new vaccine protects against an additional six types of pneumococcal bacteria."

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