Pre-pandemic PCV vax campaign would save lives

Vaccinating children under the age of two with PCV7--7 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine--would save 357,000 lives and $7 billion in costs in the event of a flu pandemic in  the U.S. That's the bottom line drawn by a team of researchers from Harvard University, i3 Innovus and Wyeth Research who modeled how children would be affected by a flu outbreak. They worked on the knowledge that bacterial infections and pneumococcal disease often follow the flu.

"We've known for years that bacterial infections can develop after influenza. Unlike the 1918 flu pandemic, which preceded the antibiotic era, we now have vaccines that can prevent these types of pneumococcal infections. This model shows what a dramatically different outcome we could expect with standard PCV vaccination," Keith P. Klugman, professor of global health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health.

An aggressive PCV vaccination campaign would also prevent 1.24 million cases of pneumonia after a pandemic. The threat of a bird flu outbreak among humans has spurred a fresh look at the way societies respond to pandemics and how they should prepare for one. This new data was presented at the infectious diseases conference in Washington, D.C.

- read the report from HealthDay