Jab cuts bacterial pneumonia in children

The number of children admitted to hospital with bacterial pneumonia fell by a fifth following the introduction of a vaccine in 2006.

Researchers from Imperial College London looked at the effects of the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate (PCV7) vaccine since its arrival in September 2006.

They found that the vaccine reduced hospital admissions for bacteria in children under 15 by 19%, and cut admissions for empyema, a rare complication of it, by 22%.

PCV7 vaccinations are currently offered to all children at two months, four months and 13 months.

PCV7 was given to the majority of eligible children in England in the years following its introduction. In the first year, 84% received the vaccine, and in second year 91%.

The research was led by Dr Sonia Saxena. She said: ‘Now that we have clear evidence about the benefits of the pneumonia vaccine, we hope more parents will be encouraged to have their children vaccinated in future.’

The PCV7 vaccine was replaced with PCV13 earlier this year. The new vaccine protects against more strains Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes bacterial pneumonia.

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