Dr. Robert P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had this to say about the CDC’s first one-time approval of a pediatric vaccine to protect against five different diseases:
The approval of the Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb women’s health vaccine Merck Streptococcus pneumonia (MMP9) vaccine for the prevention of pneumonia in children ages 5 to 11 is a reflection of the high sense of urgency among global health officials in establishing the polio eradication plan, since the world has no human polio virus left.
The announcement underscores that this rapid progress toward eradication is not limited to polio, but will bring substantial benefits to young children around the world, as well as reducing morbidity and mortality.
Dr. Walensky’s announcement came as the World Health Organization prepared to commemorate Monday the 10th anniversary of the announcement of the first countries that had eradicated polio, Vietnam and Indonesia. The WHO estimated that immunizing 20 million children 5 to 11 years old in Vietnam and Indonesia would bring a preventable infection to zero and trigger a potential 10-fold decline in acute flaccid paralysis worldwide.