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FDA Approves New Version Of Pfizer's Prevnar Vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new version of the widely used children's vaccine Prevnar.

The current Prevnar vaccine is given to infants and toddlers to prevent against seven strains of bacteria known as streptococcus pneumoniae that cause a range of illnesses like ear infections, pneumonia, bloodstream infections and meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.

The new vaccine is designed to protect against six additional strains of bacteria, which cause pneumococcal disease, for a total of 13 strains. The new vaccine is called Prevnar 13 and is marketed by Pfizer Inc. (PFE).

The vaccine has been responsible for a more than 70% decline in pneumococcal diseases since it was introduced in the U.S. nearly a decade ago. In the U.S., Prevnar is typically given at two, four and six months with the final booster shot given to babies between 12 and 15 months of age. Prevnar had $2.7 billion in annual sales in 2008.

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