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Health officials in the US have approved a new pneumococcal vaccine that is expected to slash the number of children and teenagers diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia.
The vaccine, Prevnar 13, has been given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) following successful safety trials in 5,084 infants and children.
Those given the new vaccine encountered the same side-effects as the current treatment – simply known as Prevnar – namely, pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, irritability, fever and loss of appetite. A control group of 2,760 infants and children were given the original vaccine and produced the same results.
Prevnar 13 provides further protection against the seven main strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae, which can affect the blood, middle ear and covering of the brain and spinal cord as well as producing pneumonia.
The four dose vaccine will be given to infants and children up to the age of six via single-dose, pre-filled syringes that do not contain the controversial preservative thimerosal which has been suspected of affecting neuropsychological development.
Copyright Press Association 2010