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Wyeth Applauds Six Countries Across Europe, and the Middle East, That Recently Announced the Inclusion of the 7-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV7) in Their Immunization Schedules
Date:7/8/2008

MAIDENHEAD, England, July 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

- PREVENAR Vaccine to Help Protect Children Against the Leading Vaccine-Preventable Cause of Death in Young Children

Wyeth applauds the countries of Cyprus, Hungary, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Ireland, Slovak Republic and Sweden for announcing their decisions to routinely immunize infants and young children against pneumococcal disease by adding PREVENAR(TM) PCV7 (Pneumococcal Saccharide Conjugated Vaccine, Adsorbed) to their national immunization programs(1). This announcement makes it 24 countries across the world that have now included Prevenar in their immunizations schedules(1).

"We share these countries' commitment to protecting children from the potentially devastating effects of pneumococcal disease and applaud the swift action they have taken in addressing this urgent and pressing health issue," says Bernard Fritzell, Vice President, International Scientific & Clinical Affairs, Wyeth Vaccines Research, in Paris, France. "Wyeth is dedicated to the wellbeing of children and to working with other governments and agencies to further expand the access to Prevenar. This includes accelerating the introduction of the vaccine in those countries that have announced their decision to incorporate Prevenar in their National Immunisation Programmes but have yet to introduce the vaccine as part of their immunization schedule."

This is important news as pneumococcal disease results in 1.6 million deaths per year worldwide, of which up to 1 million deaths are in children younger than five years of age(2). Pneumococcal disease is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of death in children younger than five years of age worldwide(3).

"Specifically, since the introduction of PCV7, into Germany's paediatric immunization schedule in 2006, there has been a 50 percent reduction in vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children younger than 2 years old compared with a pre-vaccine baseline(3). In addition, a slight reduction in vaccine-type IPD among children aged 2-5 years old, an unvaccinated group, also was documented, suggesting a potential "indirect" effect among older children who were not immunized(3). Recent data from Germany, France and the UK highlight the impact of the vaccine in countries where it is part of the national immunization schedule," says Dr Mark van der Linden, Head of the National Reference Center for Streptococci at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, RWTH-Aachen, Germany.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends priority inclusion of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in national childhood immunization programs worldwide due to the significant burden of pneumococcal disease and demonstrated vaccine efficac(6). 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(6).

PREVENAR, the only licensed pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, is now available in 88 countries around the world, with more than 180 million doses distributed(1).

Pneumococcal Disease

Pneumococcal disease affects both children and adults and is a leading cause of illness and death worldwide(6). 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(7). PREVENAR is the first and only pneumococcal conjugate vaccine approved to help protect infants and young children against pneumococcal disease caused by the serotypes included in the vaccine(7).

References available on request.

Wyeth

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.


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SOURCE Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
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