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Is the vaccine Prevenar for pneumococcal meningitis essential?

Q: For my daughter who is 4 months old, the paediatrician has suggested administering the vaccine called Prevenar for pneumococcal meningitis. The doctor says that this is a new vaccine just released in India. In this context, I would like to know the expert opinion on this vaccine, and how effective and how relevant is this vaccine in the Indian conditions?

A:This is an expensive vaccine that prevents against several (but not all) strains of pneumococcus organism, which can sometimes cause severe infections like meningitis and pneumonia in infants and children. Experience with this vaccine is limited in the country but there is no reason to suspect that efficacy and safety will differ from other developed countries provided the pneumococcal strains causing these infections are similar. It is like buying an insurance policy; if you can easily afford it you can go ahead but if not affordable do not lose much sleep over it.


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