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Fewer Shots Could Still Protect Kids From Pneumonia

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

New findings show a reduced-dose schedule for the pneumococcalvaccine can protect infants against pneumonia and other infections.

The current recommended dose schedule for 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) consists of three primary doses before the age of six months, followed by a booster vaccination in the second year of life (3 + 1-dose schedule). But factors such as questions about the cost-effectiveness of the current PCV-7 dose schedule have led researchers to examine reduced-dose vaccine schedules.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands studied 1,003 healthy infants who were randomly assigned to receive two doses of PCV-7 at two months and four months of age, or a 2 + 1-dose schedule at two, four and 11 months of age, or no vaccine (controlgroup). The children were checked after 12 months, 18 months and 24 months for pneumococcal microorganisms in the upper part of the throat behind the nose.

Compared to those in the control group, children in both vaccine groups had far lower rates of microorganisms that can cause pneumonia and other infections/

“In conclusion, both two-dose and 2 + 1-dose schedules of PCV-7 significantly reduce vaccine serotype pneumococcal carriage in children. This study supports future implementation of reduced-dose PCV-7 schedules,” the researchers concluded.

The study appears in the July 8, 2009, issue of the Journal of the AmericanMedicalAssociation.

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