WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Federal health officials on Monday questioned whether to approve an updated version of Pfizer's best-selling anti-infection vaccine for children, despite company studies that failed to meet certain goals.
The Prevnar 13 vaccine reduces risk of infection by 13 varieties of pneumococcal disease, which causes ear infections, meningitis and pneumonia. The new version of the vaccine protects against six more varieties of the disease.
But Food and Drug Administration reviewers said that company studies failed to meet the preselected goals for three types of the disease, according to documents posted online.The missed goals were statistical measures for vaccine response selected by the FDA. However, since no other vaccine fights the same strains of the disease as Prevnar, the FDA said the significance of the missed goals "may not be clear." Dr. Emilio Emini, Pfizer's chief of vaccine research, said the missed goals were due to statistical groupings of patients in the study, not a flaw with the vaccine itself. Pfizer's briefing documents note that the World Health Organization's vaccine guidelines say meeting the study goals in question is "desirable, but not an absolute requirement."