This blog is going to be about Pneumococcal Disease. This week, April 14, 2010, we have a new vaccine, the Prevnar13. This will be replacing the Prevnar7. Streptococcus Pneumoniae is the leading cause of pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis, ear infections, and sinusitis in the United States. There have recently been over 4500 deaths annually from this disease, with most of these deaths coming from the infection entering the blood stream (which is called bacteremia), and meningitis (which is an infection around the brain).
In Oregon, the new Pneumococcal vaccine, also called the PCV13 or Prevnar13, will cover additional serotypes 1, 3, 5, 6a, 7f, and 19a. Over the past couple years, this new vaccine would have prevented over a third of the serious pneumococcal infections here in Oregon. Approximately 200 cases of serious infection (bacteremia, sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis), mostly in children 0-5 years of age, could have been prevented.
At Integrative Pediatrics this week, we will be replacing all of the old Prevnar vaccine with the new ones. Patients should be assured that this vaccine contains the same amount of aluminum (125 micrograms) as the old Prevnar vaccine. While it would be desirable that there be no aluminum, it appears that this vaccine would be ineffective and would not produce an immune response without it. Due to the presence of the aluminum in this vaccine, at Integrative Pediatrics we choose not to do more than one aluminum-containing vaccine at a time; and this vaccine will simply replace the typical Prevnar location in the vaccine schedule.
Children age 1-5 who have completed the series of Prevnar(Pc) vaccines should get one more.