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Collective Prevention Services introduces immune boosting vaccine for children under age two on St. Maarten

FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2013

PHILIPSBURG– The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) will be introducing a new immune boosting vaccine called the Pneumococcal vaccine (pronounced noo-muh-kok-uhl) for children under age 2 as of May 12.

This new vaccine will help protect children from bacteria called Streptococcus pneumonia (pneumococcal), which can cause Pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, bacteraemia, meningitis and otitis media. Pneumococcus (a type of bacteria) is in the nose and throat of many people, and is spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with respiratory secretions, which can be very dangerous for children under the age of two and elderly adults.

Vaccines have been used to prevent pneumococcal disease for more than 30 years. Currently, there are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines on the market: a 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23) available since the early 1980s and 2 conjugate vaccines available since 2009, one 10-valent (PCV10) the other 13-valent (PCV13).

The 7-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is gradually being removed from the market. The vaccine that is new to St. Maarten, which is now being introduced, is the 13-valent vaccine.

Currently available PCVs are safe, effective and the increased number of serotypes present in these vaccines, compared to the first licensed PCV7, represents significant progress in the fight against pneumococcal morbidity and mortality. The use of pneumococcal vaccine is complementary to the use of other pneumonia control measures, such as appropriate case management, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and the reduction of known risk factors, such as indoor pollutants and tobacco smoke.

In the event that children started the series of pneumococcal vaccination with a different vaccine type (PCV 7 or PCV 10) and they are under the age of 24 months, the schedule can be completed with the PCV 13 vaccine. Registration for the vaccination will take place on the yellow vaccination cards in the field “others” in the child’s chart and in the baby book.

As of May 12, the Baby Clinic next to the Yogesh Building will begin administrating the Pneumococcal Vaccine to all children under the age of two. Parents can also contact their family doctor or paediatrician for more information.

Health Minister Cornelius de Weever announced the introduction of the vaccine during Wednesday’s Council of Ministers’ press briefing.

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