Pfizer and the advocacy group Beyond Vaccines released on Thursday new data showing that the vaccine against pneumococcal disease, COVID-19, will be readily available in the United States.
A study published earlier this year by the journal Vaccine showed that 99 percent of more than 1,000 children in two large trials who received COVID-19 had no recurrence of the disease after two years. The company’s study released Thursday, TRIPLET-5, involved an additional 152 children in the United States.
The pneumococcal vaccine is currently licensed in 78 countries and, with Pfizer’s new research and the results of this TRIPLET-5 study, it is expected to be licensed in the United States, where it would become the first vaccine for pneumococcal disease to be administered to children in six years.
Pneumococcal disease kills about 33,000 children each year and affects hundreds of thousands more in the U.S. The new vaccine would, for the first time, protect more than 60 percent of children under age 5 in the U.S. from pneumococcal disease. These parents will be able to vaccinate their children against pneumococcal disease without the trip to the doctor, because the vaccine will be administered at school-based health clinics that have already received FDA certification.
One of the main challenges in discovering a vaccine for pneumococcal disease has been that the bacteria’s strains constantly change and new strains frequently spread from person to person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Thursday that “it is a shame that so many people die from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Thursday that “it is a shame that so many people die from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine.”
By working together with Beyond Vaccines, Pfizer and the Commonwealth of Australia have now made an “important contribution” to eradicating pneumococcal disease, said Professor Julie Gerberding, the director of the C.D.C.
Pneumococcal disease is typically spread through direct contact with nasal and throat secretions, and oral coughing. In children, the disease can cause fever, cough, respiratory difficulty, and body aches, especially among younger children. It can even lead to pneumonia.