A 20-serotype vaccine against pneumonia, the fourth leading cause of death in the world

After two years repeatedly hearing the importance of vaccination against Covid-19, the time has come to underline the importance of keeping the vaccination schedule up to date to prevent infectious diseases, mainly pneumonia. The American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, has presented Apxxnarthe vaccine to protect against 20 serotypes responsible for invasive pneumococcal and pneumococcal pneumonia.

On this occasion, the injectable includes the largest number of serotypes that cause pneumococcal disease, more than any other pneumococcal conjugate vaccine available. Specifically, it includes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 7F, 8, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 18C, 19A, 19F, 22F, 23F and 33F). And, he leaves behind the 13-serotype vaccine, prevent 13, which is used up to now.


Currently, The 20 serotypes from which the dose protects are the cause of 70% of hospitalized pneumococcal pneumonia in adults in Spain. In order to reduce these figures, Pfizer has developed the vaccine for single dose and intramuscular application. “The recommendations understand that only one dose would be sufficient for indefinite protection, but it is something that we will know over time,” he explains. Federico Martin-Torres, Coordinator of the Pneumoexperts in Prevention Group.

It is an inactivated vaccine “which has no time preference in the vaccination schedule, nor cause interference with other vaccines,” he adds. In fact, the time of vaccination against Covid-19 or the flu could be used to carry out a joint update of the calendar.

The dose of Apxxnar is ready to be administered in Spain, but it will be the autonomous communities that set the pace of vaccination. “Catalonia has already included the 20-serotype vaccine for the prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal pneumonia in those over 65 years of age,” explains Cristina Mendez, Medical Director of Pfizer Vaccines for Southern Europe. Communities such as Andalusia or Madrid continue to apply the thirteen-type and predecessor vaccine.

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The application is pending the criteria of each autonomous community, although the experts expect 100% coverage, explains Angel Gil, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Rey Juan Carlos University. “We assume that adult vaccination coverage is never good. In Madrid we are talking about just over 30%”, he adds.

Madrid, like many other territories, “continue to administer the 13-serotype pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine for people over 60 years of age and people at risk and immunosuppressed, so it is important that increase awareness of the elderly in the need for these doses”details Isabella JimenoPrimary Care Physician and head of the Vaccine Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG).

Specialists focus on the oldest, since “Vaccines are not just for children”. Older people are the ones who tend to suffer more from the consequences, even deadly. Specifically, pneumonia “It is the leading cause of death from infectious disease in Spain, if we exclude Covid-19”points out the person in charge of the SEMG.

In addition to the long list of benefits of this dose in terms of reducing hospitalizations, reducing the risk of mortality from infection or sequelae once the disease is overcome, “the biggest problem is that the patient’s quality of life begins to decline,” points out the Primary Care specialist.


The list not only lists benefits for the disease, but also contains indirect effects that have to do “with antibiotic resistance to pneumococcus,” explains the professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Rey Juan Carlos University. “Spain currently has the highest figures in antibiotic resistance, therefore, it is expected that with this vaccine around 92% of antibiotic protection would be recovered”, he adds.

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Worldwide, this disease is due to the fourth cause of mortality in the world. If the pandemic has served anything, it has been to put pneumonia in its place, the specialists conclude. A risk that is not only avoided with “healthy habits” such as not being a smoker, not consuming alcohol, eating a healthy diet or walking daily. Health professionals must educate our patients on the importance of correct vaccination coverage, adds Jimeno. .


As for the lack of awareness or loss of confidence, the specialists present it as “post-vaccine or post-pandemic fatigue”, Aqua Jimeno. As for Covid-19, “we are talking about a fourth dose, but we must bear in mind that we are fine thanks to that, so it would be important to invest in information campaigns for patients, either from the administration or from professionals,” he adds. .


The clinical program phase 3 for adults. For PCV20, Pfizer included three clinical trials (‘NCT03760146’, ‘NCT03828617’, and ‘NCT03835975’) that evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate to support use for the prevention of invasive disease and pneumococcal pneumonia in adults of 18 years or older.

In these three trials participated more than 6000 adults, including adult populations without prior pneumococcal vaccination and adults with prior pneumococcal vaccination.

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