35 countries offer immunisation against Pneumococcal Disease
Wyeth announced that the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on the market, has been added to Saudi Arabia’s national childhood immunisation programme to help protect infants and young children from pneumococcal disease – the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death in children younger than five years of age worldwide. The vaccine, also referred to as PCV7 is now included in the national immunisation programmes (NIPs) of 35 countries worldwide.
PCV7, the global standard in pneumococcal disease prevention for infants and young children, helps protect against the seven pneumococcal serotypes contained in the vaccine that cause the majority of pneumococcal disease worldwide. PCV7 has both proven clinical efficacy and documented effectiveness resulting in significant public health impact. More than 235 million doses of PCV7 have been distributed across the world since its introduction.
“Wyeth is pleased that 35 countries now share in the commitment to help protect current and future generations from pneumococcal disease – an urgent and pressing health issue. As a result, nearly 15 million children born this year will have the benefit of protection with PCV7,” says Dr E. David McIntosh, paediatrician and Wyeth’s Medical Director for Infectious Disease and Vaccines in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. ‘Since its introduction, PCV7 has had a substantial impact on public health, dramatically reducing the rate of invasive pneumococcal disease where it is routinely used.”
In addition to Saudi Arabia, Oman included PCV7 as part of their NIP in 2009. Other notable NIPs initiated this year include Turkey, with an annual birth rate of more than 1 million, and Sweden. South Africa, which initiated a national immunisation programme in September 2008, plans to implement it nationwide on 1 April, covering more than 1 million children born this year. Of the 35 countries now including PCV7 on their NIP, 25 are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which encompasses more than 7 million children born each year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumococcal disease causes up to 1 million deaths in children each year. The WHO recommends priority inclusion of PCV7 in national childhood immunisation programs worldwide due to the significant burden of pneumococcal disease and demonstrated vaccine efficacy.