New pneumococcal vaccine as safe as previous version

May 23, 2013 at 1:52 AM
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PASADENA, Calif., May 23 (UPI) -- The new 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine appears to be as safe as the previous version used prior to 2010, U.S. researchers say.

Study lead author Hung Fu Tseng, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved PCV13 for use beginning in 2010 after a series of trials.

These trials found PCV13, which protects against an additional six types of pneumococcal bacteria than the previously used 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, did not increase the risk for any serious adverse events related to the vaccine, the researchers said.

Kaiser Permanente researchers evaluated the electronic medical records of nearly 600,000 children, ages 1 month to age 2, who received PCV13 over a two-year period.

Comparing the number of rare adverse events associated with the PCV13 vaccine to the number of events associated with the previously used PCV7 vaccine, the study authors found there were no increased risk for any of the following pre-specified conditions: febrile seizures, encephalopathy -- a type of brain disorder, hives/angioedema, asthma, low platelet counts or systemic allergic reactions.

"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," Tseng said in a statement.

The CDC recommends children age 5 and younger receive PCV13, which protects against pneumococcal disease, an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. The most common types of pneumococcal infections include middle-ear infections, sinus infections, lung infections, bloodstream infections and meningitis, the CDC said.

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