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FDA Panel Backs Pfizer's Enhanced Vaccine for Kids

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - Federal health experts say an updated version of Pfizer's best-selling anti-infection vaccine is safe and effective for infants and toddlers, despite company studies that failed to meet certain goals.

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of vaccine experts voted 10-1 in favor of Pfizer's Prevnar 13 to protect against pneumococcal disease.

The new vaccine reduces risk of infection from 13 varieties of the disease, which causes thousands of cases of ear infection, meningitis and pneumonia each year. The new version adds protection against six additional strains to the seven covered by the current vaccine.

The FDA says the new strains account for more than 60 percent of
pneumococcal cases in children younger than 5 in the U.S.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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