Merck wins FDA OK for vaccine rival to Pfizer’s pneumococcal shot

  • The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new vaccine from Merck & Co. that protects against 21 types of the bacteria that causes pneumococcal disease.
  • The vaccine, cleared for use in adults 18 and older, will be sold by Merck as Capvaxive. Pneumococcal disease can lead to severe infection in the lungs or sometimes in the blood and spinal cord, when it is known as meningitis. Adults older than 65 or who have compromised immune systems are at particular risk for the disease.
  • Merck expects to make the vaccine available as soon as late July, depending on the recommendations provided by advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who are scheduled to meet later this month.

Merck currently sells two pneumococcal vaccines. One, dubbed Pneumovax 23, is for adults at least 50 years of age and children older than…
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