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Prevnar 13 FDA-Approved for Adults 50 and Older

PRNewsFoto/Amgen/Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The pneumococcal vaccine Prevnar 13 has been approved by the FDA for use in adults ages 50 and over, Pfizer said Friday.

"Pneumococcal disease, including pneumonia, in adults 50 years and older represents a significant personal and societal health burden in the United States. The FDA approval of Prevnar 13 for these adults offers the potential to contribute to the health of millions of aging Americans,” Ian Read, chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc. said in a statement Friday.

According to Pfizer, Pneumococcal disease (PD) is growing as a leading public health issue for adults 50 and older in the U.S., where there are "hundreds of thousands of S. pneumoniae infections per year, including more than 440,000 cases of pneumococcal pneumonia, accounting for an estimated 200,000 emergency department visits and 300,000 hospitalizations."

“Clearly, there remains a high incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia in this adult population,” said Emilio Emini, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, Vaccine Research for Pfizer. “Prevnar 13 was licensed for adults 50 years and older by the FDA under an accelerated approval pathway because of its potential to help address this significant disease burden.”

Previously Prevnar's use in the U.S. was limited to the prevention and treatment of ear infections, sepsis and meningitis in children, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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