Merck outflanks Pfizer’s 20-valent shot with pneumococcal vaccine approval for kids

Back in April, the FDA asked for more analysis from Merck on its 15-valent pneumococcal vaccine for children and pushed back its approval deadline by three months. As the three-month mark approaches, the FDA appears to be satisfied.

Merck announced today that the FDA approved its vaccine for children ages 6 weeks and up, making it the third pneumococcal shot approved for children. The vaccine, which is marketed as Vaxneuvance, was already OK’d for adults back in July 2021.

The FDA approved Vaxneuvance for children and infants based on results from seven trials that compared Vaxneuvance to Pfizer’s Prevnar 13, which, as the name suggests, is a 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine. Merck’s shot covers the 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria in Prevnar, along with two additional strains — 22F and 33F.