Who Makes Prevnar?
Prevnar is made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
How Does Prevnar Work?
Simply stated, the antigens in Prevnar "trick" the body into thinking it has been exposed to pneumococcal bacteria. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the bacteria if future exposure occurs.
A different pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax®) was available long before Prevnar and is used to prevent pneumococcal disease in adults and children over two years of age. However, the vaccine does not work well in infants and toddlers, since their immune systems are too immature to respond adequately to the vaccine.
Prevnar was developed specifically in a way to allow the young immune systems of infants and toddlers to respond to the vaccine. The bacterial antigens in Prevnar are bound or "conjugated" to a non-toxic diphtheria protein; this change produces a much better immune response in young children.
When and How to Get Vaccinated
Some general considerations include the following:
- This vaccine is given as one to four doses, depending on the age when the first dose is given (the older the child, the fewer doses that are given).
- The healthcare provider should shake the vial well before using Prevnar and should not combine Prevnar with any other vaccines in the same syringe.
- Children can be vaccinated if they have a minor illness, such as the common cold. However, the vaccine should be postponed if your child is moderately or severely ill.
Prevnar Dosing Information
There is only one standard recommended dosage for this vaccine, although the exact vaccine "schedule" varies, depending on the age of the child at the first dose.
(Click Prevnar Dosage for more information.)