Updated
June 27th, 2019

UK Decreases Prevnar 13 Vaccinations From 3 to 2 Doses for Infants

CDC recommends pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) for all children younger than 2 years old

happy baby laying on a bed, only 2 shots instead of 3

The United Kingdom (UK) announced it will become the first country in the world to reduce the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) from 3 to 2 doses for children. 

The PCV vaccine, Prevnar 13, which protects children from 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria and against diseases such as pneumonia, sepsis, and some types of meningitis, is currently given to infants at 2 and 4 months of age, followed by a booster at 13 months. 

This decision is based upon the July 2018 Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendation after a study published in the Lancet showed that the PCV vaccine was just as effective and safe in children when given in 2 shots, reported The Telegraph on April 16, 2019.   

A UK Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it was estimated that the vaccine had prevented more than 5,000 deaths and 40,000 cases of the serious disease since it was first introduced. 

"The program has been so effective in creating population-wide immunity in the UK that independent experts have advised we can sustain the excellent results we have seen already by moving from three doses of the vaccine to two," the UK spokesperson added. 

Experts believe that the change could eventually pave the way for similar policies in lower and middle-income countries, saving them significant amounts of money. 

The UK does not disclose how much it pays for Prevnar 13, which is manufactured by the US drug firm Pfizer. But it is one of the most expensive vaccinations in the routine childhood schedule and in the US it costs $130 for every shot. 

David Goldblatt, professor of vaccinology and immunology at University College, London, who led the research that helped inform the JCVI's decision, said that the UK's decision would give confidence to other countries. 

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"If you're a country which has only recently introduced the Prevnar 13 vaccine you couldn't go straight to the [new dosing] schedule. But there are some countries in Africa - South Africa is one example - which could move to it relatively quickly," he said.    

Recent Prevnar 13 news articles:

In the USA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for all children younger than 2 years old, all adults 65 years or older, and people 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions. 

The CDC recommends pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for all adults 65 years or older, people 2 through 64 years old with certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes. 

Talk with your child’s healthcare professional if you have questions about vaccines. 

Relevant Links:  CDC vaccination schedules, CDC vaccine price list, international travel alerts, and report vaccine side effects.