Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine, also known as Prevnar 13 (PCV13), has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP) to treat adults aged 65 years and older against pneumococcal disease.
The ACIP voted to recommend an initial dose of PCV13 followed by a dose of PPSV23 in adults 65 years of age or older who have not previously received a pneumococcal vaccine, or whose previous vaccination history is unknown.
The committee also recommended its use in adults who have not previously received PCV13 and who have previously received one or more doses of PPSV23.
The recommendations for routine use of PCV13 among adults 65 years and older will need to be re-evaluated in 2018 and revised as necessary, according to ACIP.
The CDC director and the US Department of Health and Human Services will review and approve the recommendations.
Pfizer Vaccines president Susan Silbermann said: "Estimates have placed the yearly direct and indirect costs of adult hospitalisations and outpatient cases due to pneumococcal pneumonia in the United States at nearly $5bn.
"As health care professionals in the US begin to implement this new ACIP recommendation, we believe that Prevnar 13 can now help prevent vaccine-type pneumococcal pneumonia in older adults and has the potential to provide an important public health benefit."
PCV13 was first introduced for the treatment of infants and young children in Europe in December 2009.
Currently, it is approved for such use in around 120 countries, including the US and Japan.
In addition, PCV13 was approved for adults aged 50 years and older, to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive disease caused by 13 Streptococcus pneumoniae strains.