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Pneumococcal Vaccine Still Effective with Fewer Doses

Two or three doses just as effective as the four doses currently recommended

FRIDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Vaccination of pediatric patients with two or three doses of the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is just as effective at preventing pneumococcal disease as the currently recommended schedule of four doses, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 28 issue of The Lancet.

Cynthia G. Whitney, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a study of 782 children aged 3 months to 59 months with invasive pneumococcal disease and 2,512 healthy controls.

Disease caused by all seven serotypes was prevented by vaccination, as well as vaccine-related serotype 6A. One or more doses of the vaccine gave 96 percent protection against vaccine serotypes in healthy children and 81 percent among children with coexisting disorders. The vaccine had 76 percent efficacy against infections that were not susceptible to penicillin. Three infant doses with a booster was the most effective schedule.

"This information adds to evidence indicating that pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have the potential to greatly reduce the 800,000 to 1 million deaths of children from pneumococcal disease every year. The next challenge is to ensure that conjugate vaccines become part of routine immunization in more places, especially in developing countries where most pneumococcal deaths in young children occur," the authors conclude.

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