Prevenar--pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.Pneumococcal pneumococcal /pneu·mo·coc·cal/ (-kok´al) pertaining to or caused by pneumococci. disease, which can cause meningitis, pneumonia, bacteraemia bacteraemia
see bacteremia. and sepsis, affects at least 349 per 100 000 children < 12 months old and 130 per 100 000 children younger than 5 years of age in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. . Are we doing all we can to protect our children? A new World Health Organization (WHO) policy recently published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record supports the inclusion of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is a vaccine used to protect infants and young children against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). (PCV PCV packed-cell volume.
packed-cell volume, the volume of packed red cells in milliliters per 100 ml of blood. ) in national immunisation programmes around the world in view of the demonstrated vaccine efficacy Vaccine efficacy is defined as the reduction in the incidence of a disease among people who have received a vaccine compared to the incidence in unvaccinated people. The efficacy of a new vaccine is measured in phase III clinical trials by giving one group of people a vaccine and and high disease burden. This recommendation was developed based on epidemiological and vaccine impact data from several different settings around the world.
While Prevenar (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, 7 valent), the first and only pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to help protect infants and toddlers against the disease, is already available in South Africa, the majority of children are not being routinely protected against the potentially devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. consequences of the disease owing to it not currently being included in the national childhood immunisation programme.
Routine vaccination would not only help to reduce disease burden, but could also help to reduce public health costs. A recent pharmacoeconomic evaluation found that routine use of Prevenar in the USA not only helps prevent deaths from pneumococcal disease, but also reduces associated health care costs for patients and payers. This evaluation included both direct effect on routinely immunised children as well as indirect benefits for unvaccinated adults.
Adoption of the WHO policy in South Africa, in addition to broader adoption around the world, has the potential to save millions of children's lives and is a vital step towards achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.
Enquiries: Dr Nini Ramasamy, Medical Director Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, tel (011) 655-2600. References available on request.