MAIDENHEAD, England, January 13 /PRNewswire/ --
- Prevenar Vaccine to Help Protect Children Against the Leading Vaccine-Preventable Cause of Death in Young Children Worldwide
Turkey has initiated a national immunization programme (NIP) against pneumococcal disease with Wyeth's Prevenar(TM) (Pneumococcal saccharide conjugated vaccine, Adsorbed) - a vaccine which helps protect infants and young children against the seven serotypes causing the majority of pneumococcal disease worldwide. There are now more than 30 countries that include Prevenar in their childhood NIP.
This important decision by the Turkish government shows a strong commitment to address this urgent and pressing health issue and to reduce child mortality, says Dr E. David McIntosh, a paediatrician and Medical Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Wyeth. Given the documented public health benefits of Prevenar in countries where it is routinely used, this announcement is an important development for the more than 1 million children born every year in Turkey.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumococcal disease causes up to 1 million deaths in children each year and is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of death in children younger than five years of age worldwide.
Given the significant burden of pneumococcal disease and the demonstrated vaccine efficacy, in March 2007, WHO recommended priority inclusion of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in national childhood immunization programs worldwide. Recently, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) to WHO issued a preliminary recommendation that pneumococcal disease prevention be ranked as a very high priority on a global basis.
Immunization is one of the most important public health interventions for the prevention of disease. The inclusion of pneumococcal vaccination with Prevenar in the national immunization program in Turkey is an important step to help ensure that our children will be protected against this serious, and potentially life-threatening disease, says Professor Mehmet Ceyhan, President of the Turkish Infectious Diseases Association.
Prevenar, the only licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, is now available in more than 90 countries around the world, with more than 200 million doses distributed.
Pneumococcal disease affects both children and adults and is a leading cause of illness and death worldwide. Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and describes a group of illnesses, including invasive infections, such as bacteremia/sepsis and meningitis, as well as pneumonia and upper respiratory tract infections, including otitis media.
Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products, nutritionals and non-prescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
Media Contacts: Gill Markham, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, +44(0)1628-692536; Joanne Wunder, Ogilvyhealth PR, +44(0)207-108-6076