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The Associated Press October 27, 2011, 10:41AM ET

Pfizer pneumonia vaccine gets wider EU approval

Pfizer Inc.'s blockbuster vaccine against dangerous bacterial infections has been approved in Europe for use in adults age 50 and older, the drugmaker said Thursday.

That's an age when pneumococcal infections become more likely and risky.

Pfizer's Prevnar 13 vaccine, known as Prevenar 13 outside the U.S., protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease, which can cause pneumonia, life-threatening infections of the blood, brain and spinal cord, and ear infections in children.

It's the world's top-selling vaccine, with about $3.7 billion in annual sales for Prevnar 13 and an earlier, seven-strain version.

The vaccine was already approved for children in more than 100 countries and for adults under 50 in Europe. Pfizer, based in New York, is awaiting U.S. approval for use in adults.

In morning trading, shares of Pfizer added 30 cents to $19.57.

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