Pneumococcal vax to be investigated prior to funding
IMPORTANT questions about a promising new 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine for the over-50s must be answered before it is funded by the federal government, an infectious diseases expert says.
The head of clinical research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), Professor Robert Booy, said Pneumovax 23 (CSL/Merck) was a good vaccine but it was hoped Prevenar 13 would be better at preventing the majority of cases of pneumonia that occur without bacteraemia.
The manufacturer, Pfizer, confirmed it will seek NIP listing for Prevenar 13 for the over-50s, although the timing has not been decided. The indication was approved by the TGA last year and the vaccine is available on the private market. CSL declined to comment.
“I would say there are a few important questions that have to be answered before it would be appropriate for the government to fund it, such as how it would be given with other vaccines and how much better it is,” said Professor Booy.
Results from international studies looking at these issues were due soon, he said.
According to the PI, Prevenar 13 can be given one year after Pneumovax 23. Studies have shown that when given this way, immune responses were lower for all serotypes compared to people not previously vaccinated with Pneumovax 23.
Professor Booy said it would be preferable to give Prevenar 13 before giving Pneumovax 23, as advised in the PI.