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History of Vaccines | Pfizer
View our timeline and learn about our legacy below
A Legacy of Achievement in Preventing Disease
The significant impact of Pfizer's vaccines — including those of its predecessor companies Wyeth, Lederle Laboratories and Praxis Biologics — dates back more than a century. View our timeline and learn about our legacy below:
Smallpox vaccine developed at the Company’s Lancaster County Vaccine Farm.1
The diphtheria antitoxin becomes the first FDA-licensed product manufactured at the Company’s Pearl River, New York, facility.2
The Company manufactures one million doses of smallpox vaccine per week.2
The Company ships typhoid vaccines as part of the war effort.1
The Company introduces a combined vaccine for preventing diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis in young children.2
First to license oral form of live trivalent poliovirus vaccine in the United States.2
First to develop bifurcated needle which subsequently revolutionizes smallpox delivery and leads to its worldwide eradication.1
First to develop a heat stable, freeze-dried vaccine for smallpox.1
First to license a conjugate-based vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type b when HibTITER is licensed for toddlers in the United States.3
First to license a diphtheria, tetanus,
acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine in the United States.4
First to license a Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine combined with DTP in the United States.4
First to license a meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine.5
First to license a 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for infants and young children.5
First to license a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for infants and
First to license a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for adults
50 years and older.6
First to license a meningococcal group B vaccine for individuals
10 through 25 years of age
Pfizer's PCV 13 vaccine recommended by CDC/ACIP for adults aged 65 years and older.
Positive Top-Line results of landmark CAPiTA trial announced.
Acquires Baxter’s portfolio of marketed vaccines for protection against meningitis caused by group C meningococcal meningitis (MenC) and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).
Acquires Redvax GmBH for access to preclinical human cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine candidate.
European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) grants positive opinion to PCV13 for prevention of vaccine-type pneumococcal pneumonia in adults.
More than a Century of Achievement
In the early 1900s the Company was involved in the commercial production of a smallpox vaccine. Later, the Company was the first to develop a heat-stable, freeze-dried smallpox vaccine as well as the bifurcated needle, which ultimately helped lead to the worldwide eradication of smallpox.
Among its other innovative contributions, the Company was the first to introduce a combined vaccine for preventing diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. Lederle also produced more than 600 million doses of the first live trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine, substantially contributing to the 1994 eradication of polio in the Americas.
As vaccine research and development took exciting new directions through emerging knowledge about viral and bacterial diseases, the Company continued to press forward. Even as many others abandoned vaccine research, Pfizer remained on the leading edge of vaccine development. In 1988, the Company pioneered the use of novel conjugation technology which led to the introduction of groundbreaking vaccines, ones that were effective even in young children, and reduced the incidence of disease and rates of transmission. Conjugation involves linking the sugar chains often found on the outer surface of bacterium to a specific protein called CRM197 — a non-toxic variant of the diphtheria toxin. Doing so boosted the body's immune response and immune memory. The Company has successfully developed three first-in-class vaccines using this technology.
Notably, the Company was proud to be recognized with a Prix Galien USA Award for "Best Pharmaceutical Agent" in 2011 for its 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. In addition, the Company received the 2005 National Medal of Technology — the U.S. government's highest honor for technological achievement, for its 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.