As new and better vaccines are developed, they must be tested for safety and effectiveness. New vaccines for children must also be tested along with currently available vaccines.
A recent study found that a newer version of a pneumococcal vaccine was as safe and effective as the previous version.
The original pneumococcal vaccine was the 7-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV7), which protected against seven types of pneumococcal bacteria. This bacteria can cause pneumonia, meningitis and other serious conditions.
This study looked at the 13-valent vaccine, PCV13, which protects against additional types of pneumococcal bacteria.
This study, led by Terry Payton, MD, of Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics in Fayetteville, looked at the safety and effectiveness of giving the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine at the same time as other childhood vaccines.
Currently, the PCV13 vaccine is the one recommended on the CDC childhood immunization schedule.
For this study, the researchers divided 1,709 babies into four groups. One group was the comparison group, which received PCV7 as usual with other childhood vaccines at ages 2, 4, 6 and 12 months.
The other three groups received one of three different lots of PCV13 along with other childhood vaccines at the same ages.
Then the researchers compared the babies' immune responses to the pneumococcal vaccines and any negative effects that occurred.
The effectiveness of PCV13 was found to be at least as good as PCV7.
The most common side effects following vaccination were soreness and redness at the injection site.
Any fevers the children experienced were mild, and other rates of events occurring after vaccination were similar across all groups.
The researchers concluded that PCV13 was manufactured consistently to produce equivalent immune responses in children when given with other vaccines.
They also noted that the safety of PCV13 was similar to the safety of PCV7.
This study was published in the August issue of Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
The research was funded by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Pfizer.
Six authors are employees of Pfizer and two were employees at Wyeth when the study was done, one of whom now consults for Pfizer. No other conflicts of interest were reported.