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Health Agencies Update
February 22/29, 2012

Pneumonia Vaccine

JAMA. 2012;307(8):773. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.176

Through its accelerated approval program, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine for the prevention of pneumonia in individuals aged 50 years and older.

The vaccine, named Prevnar 13, was already approved for use in infants and children up to age 5 years to prevent otitis media and other illnesses caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in this age group. But pneumonia caused by this organism is a major public health problem for older individuals, leading to 300 000 hospitalizations each year among persons 50 years and older. Public health efforts such as Healthy People 2020 have prioritized interventions to prevent such infections.