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7/8/2004

Third Prevnar Dose Reinstated

Kate Traynor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today advised health care providers to resume administering the third scheduled dose of Prevnar, Wyeth's pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

CDC, in a notice published in the July 9 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, continues to recommend that health care providers defer administration of the fourth dose of Prevnar until the current shortage of the vaccine resolves.

Prevnar is normally administered to children at 2, 4, 6, and 12–15 months of age. Because of product shortages, CDC in February had asked health care providers to defer administration of the fourth dose of Prevnar in healthy children. Less than a month later, the agency recommended that the third dose be deferred to preserve enough vaccine for most children to receive two doses.

Children at high risk for pneumococcal disease should continue to receive all four doses of Prevnar as normally scheduled, according to CDC.

In a press release, Wyeth announced that it has made improvements to the manufacturing process and increased production capacity for the vaccine. The company also stated that it will assist physicians in implementing a "call-back strategy" to reach patients whose third dose of the vaccine was deferred.

CDC stated that the current national supply is sufficient to reinstate the third dose but local shortages of vaccine may occur. The agency stated that "every effort will be made to provide sufficient vaccine to all providers."