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Prevnar (tm)- a new vaccine for ear infections?

There has been much talk about a new vaccine called Prevnar(tm) which can prevent children from getting infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria. It has also been called a vaccine that can prevent ear infections. In fact, this may be true, although would only include ear infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria.

In February 2000, the Prevnar (tm) vaccine was approved by the FDA to prevent infections from pneumococcal disease in infants and children. Prevnar is manufactured by Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories and can help prevent bacteremia (infection in the bloodstream), meningitis (infection in the lining of the brain and spinal cord), and ear infections and pneumonia that are caused by the pneumococcal bacteria. Preliminary studies showed that Prevnar reduced the incidence of ear infections by 9 percent and caused a 20 percent decrease in the number of children needing ear tube implants to fight off ear infections. The strains of pneumococcal bacteria targeted by the vaccine are those which are most resistant to current treatment with antibiotics.

Vaccination with Prevnar requires a series of 4 doses to be given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and at 12-15 months of age. Prevnar is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Policy (ACIP) for all children under the age of 2 years and in children under the age of 5 years who are at risk of contracting an illness such as meningitis, have had numerous ear infections, are socially or economically disadvantaged, or those who attend group child care. Wyeth-Ayerst plans to begin marketing the vaccine this spring. For more information about the Prevnar vaccine, ask your pediatrician and visit the Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories website at

The above information is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice given to you by your child's own pediatrician, pharmacist, or other health professional. Use of this online service is subject to our disclaimer.


Immunization Action Coalition ( IAC EXPRESS newsletter, FDA Approves First Pneumococcal Vaccine for Infants and Toddlers, February 17, 2000.

American Home Products ( American Home Products Receives FDA Approval of Prevnar, the First Vaccine for the Prevention of Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in Infants and Toddlers Press Release, February 17, 2000.


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