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Thu 1 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Prevnar wins slot on vaccine schedule

Trailblazer vaccine Prevnar has notched up a slot on both Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s child immunisation programmes, making the shot mandatory for infants within both jurisdictions.

Trailblazer vaccine Prevnar has notched up a slot on both Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s child immunisation programmes, making the shot mandatory for infants within both jurisdictions.

The vaccine has fallen short of becoming a national requirement, as the Ministry of Health has yet to reach a decision on countrywide inclusion.

The announcement is a huge victory for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, which has pushed for its inclusion in vaccination schedules since April 2006.

Since its launch four years ago, Prevnar has become a staple fixture on both the UK and US national vaccination programmes. The vaccine targets the seven serotypes of pneumococci that cause an estimated 80% of the pneumococcal disease in children. Studies have shown the vaccine to be more than 90% effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease in young children and, in a Canadian study, to reduce common ear infections by 7%, multiple ear infections by 23%, and the need for ear tubes by 20%.

Dubai’s Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) has reportedly ordered 7,000 courses of Prevnar and hospitals are expected to begin vaccinations this month.

The schedule will follow the recommended four doses, despite recent data that found two or three doses as effective as the proposed four-dose schedule. For uninsured patients, the estimated cost of each vaccine dose is AED 350.

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