Study shows new pneumococcal vaccine as safe as previous vaccine

The new 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine appears to be as safe as the vaccine that was used before 2010, the seven-valent PCV, according to a study recently conducted by Kaiser Permanente.

The study, which was published on Wednesday in Vaccine and funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, evaluated the electronic medical records of close to 600,000 children between one month and two years of age who received PCV13. The researchers compared the number of rare adverse events associated with PCV13 to the number of events associated with PCV7.

The PCV7 vaccine was used prior to 2010 and was replaced after a series of trials.

"It is important that children receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as it provides protection against very serious and potentially fatal infections, including meningitis and bloodstream infections," Hung Fu Tseng, the lead author of the study, said. "The new vaccine protects against an additional six types of pneumococcal bacteria."

The study found no increased risks for pre-specified conditions including systemic allergic reactions, low platelet counts, asthma, hives/angiodema, encephalopathy or febrile seizures. The researchers found a statistically insignificant increase of Kawasaki disease in the 28 days following vaccination. The researchers said the increase is a statistical association but it warrants further study.

The CDC recommends that all children five years of age and younger receive PCV13, which protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. Pneumococcal infections include sinus infections, bloodstream infections, meningitis, middle-ear infections and lung infections.

Pneumococcal bacteria cause approximately 4,000 annual cases of bloodstream infections, meningitis or other invasive disease in children under the age of five.