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Newly funded vaccine offers increased pneumococcal coverage

Media release
30 June 2011

Newly Government funded vaccine offers increased pneumococcal disease coverage for New Zealand children

A newly Government funded pneumococcal vaccine called Synflorix will be rolled out across doctors’ surgeries from 1 July providing increased coverage of pneumococcal disease for New Zealand children. (1)

Synflorix replaces an older vaccine on the National Immunisation Schedule and will be offered to all children at the current paediatric immunisation schedule timelines, six weeks and three, five and 15 months of age. (1,2)

Fully funded, Synflorix offers increased disease coverage of potentially fatal diseases such as meningitis (an infection of the spinal cord and brain lining), sepsis (a form of blood poisoning) and pneumonia caused by common pneumococcal bacteria. (1,2,3)

Prior to pneumococcal vaccine implementation in June 2008 almost 5,000 New Zealand children under the age of five years were admitted to hospital each year with pneumococcal disease. (4)

In addition to immunising children against severe pneumococcal disease, sepsis and meningitis, Synflorix is designed to target the two leading causes of bacterial ear infections. (3,9)

Studies have shown that ear infections can occur in up to 83 percent of children by the age of three, resulting in approx 83,000 visits to GPs and 5,000 hospital admissions each year in New Zealand. (4,5,7)

Ear infections disproportionately affect Maori and Pacific Island children. As a consequence 10 percent of Maori and 11 percent of Pacific Island children fail hearing checks when starting school at five years of age compared with only four percent of NZ European children. Studies have also shown that persistent ear disease in childhood may contribute to poor hearing and antisocial behaviour later in life. (8,10)

Synflorix is licensed for use in more than 83 countries. (6)


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