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1977-2012: Science, Technology and Health Care

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A gallon of gas cost 62 cents, the first Star Wars opened in movie theaters and disco ruled the dance floor. But 1977 was also a milestone year in science, technology and health care.

In 1977:

  • Apple Computer Inc. is incorporated
  • The first MRI scan is performed on a human body
  • The first pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is approved

Science, technology and health care have evolved in many ways since 1977. For example, the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that was approved in 1977 helped protect against 14 pneumococcal disease serotypes. Today, PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) helps protect against 23 serotypes, including those that can cause serious disease (pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis) in the United States.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click; http://www.multivu.com/mnr/59521-merck-pneumovax23-pneumococcal-vaccine-polyvalent 

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121221/MM26402)

While many people have owned an Apple product, seen a Star Wars movie, and gotten an MRI or know someone who has, people may not be aware of their risk for pneumococcal disease. It is also important for adults to talk with their health care professional about pneumococcal vaccination. Pneumococcus (pronounced 'noo-mo-ca-cus') is a common bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis and bacteremia. These infections occur when pneumococcus invade the bloodstream, lungs or spinal fluid.

"People are more vulnerable to getting infections as they get older because their immune system is not able to respond as well as when they were younger," said John Grabenstein, Executive Director, Global Vaccine Medical Affairs & Policy at Merck. "I encourage all adults 65 and older to talk with their health care professional today about pneumococcal vaccination."

PNEUMOVAX®23 can help protect from infection by 23 forms of pneumococcal bacteria (called serotypes), including those that are most prevalent and most often cause serious disease (pneumonia, bacteremia and meningitis) in the United States.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2008, these 23 serotypes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F, and 33F) caused 76 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults ages 50–64 and 66 percent of serious pneumococcal disease in adults 65 years of age and older.

About PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

PNEUMOVAX®23 is a vaccine that is given as a shot. It helps protect you from infection by certain germs or bacteria, which are called pneumococcus.  PNEUMOVAX®23 is for people 50 years of age and older and those 2 years of age and older who are at increased risk for infection.

Important Safety Information about PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent)

PNEUMOVAX®23 may not prevent meningitis in patients with leakage of spinal fluid caused by a cracked or injured skull or a medical operation.

PNEUMOVAX®23 may not protect everyone who gets it. It will not protect against diseases that are caused by bacteria types that are not in the vaccine.

You should not get PNEUMOVAX®23 if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, had an allergic reaction to PNEUMOVAX®23 in the past, or are less than 2 years of age.

Before getting PNEUMOVAX®23 , tell your health care professional if you or your child are allergic to the vaccine, have heart or lung problems, have a fever, have immune problems or are receiving radiation treatment or chemotherapy, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Talk to your health care professional if you plan to get ZOSTAVAX® (zoster vaccine live) at the same time as PNEUMOVAX®23 because it may be better to get these vaccines at least 4 weeks apart.  Also talk to your health care professional if you plan to get PNEUMOVAX®23 at the same time as other vaccines.

The most common side effects of PNEUMOVAX®23 are:  pain, warmth, soreness, redness, swelling, and hardening at the injection site, headache, weakness, and feeling tired, and muscle pain. Tell your health care professional or get help right away if you have any of the following problems, which may be signs of an allergic reaction: difficulty breathing, wheezing, rash, hives.

PNEUMOVAX®23 is a vaccine recommended by the CDC to help prevent pneumococcal disease. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)—part of the CDC—recommends vaccination with PNEUMOVAX®23  for all appropriate adults 65 years of age and older, as well as people 2 and older who have medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases like COPD that put them at higher risk for infection.  According to the CDC, adults 50 years of age and older commonly have chronic medical conditions that increase their risk for pneumococcal disease.

You can get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease at any time. Talk to your healthcare professional or pharmacist today.

Prescribing Information and Patient Information are available at http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/ product-specific language.pdf and http://www.merck.com/product/usa/ppi_circulars/product-specific language.pdf.

This information is provided by Merck.

About Merck

Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well.  Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada.  Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions.  We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships.  For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

CONTACT:  Andrea Johnson, +1-312-396-9708

SOURCE Merck

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