Pneumococcal vaccine reduces antibiotic-resistant infections by 62%

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Previous studies have concluded that overall vaccination reduces the risk of non-targeted infections among vaccinated individuals. Now new research presented at IDWeek 2014 suggest that the pneumococcal vaccine dramatically reduces severe antibiotic-resistant infections by as much as 62 percent among children.

IDWeek 2014

Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that causes sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis as well as hearing loss, vision loss, and death. The infection is also the most common vaccine-preventable bacterial cause of death. The pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) should be administered at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and between 12 and 15 months as well as to children and teenagers in high-risk groups between 2 and 18 years old.

Explained lead researcher Sara Tomczyk, PHN, MSc, epidemic intelligence service (EIS) officer for the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta: “Pneumococcal infections can cause several clinical syndromes, including ear infection, pneumonia, and more serious infections such as meningitis and blood infections. Last year antibiotic resistance due to pneumococcal infections was deemed a serious threat in a large CDC report. It was estimated that it leads to more than 19,000 excess hospitalizations, 7,000 excess deaths, and $96 million in excess medical costs per year.”

The current pneumococcal vaccine, the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar 13), induces immune protection against thirteen subtypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterium that causes pneumonia, meningitis, blood infections, ear infections, and other health problems. PCV13 replaced the previous 7-valent version, which protected against fewer subtypes, in 2010.

Use of the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine subsequently reduced the rate of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease by 62 percent between 2009 to 2013 among children under the age of 5, a decrease of nearly two-thirds.

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