The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) reduced the incidence of antibiotic resistant pneumococcal infections in children aged under five years by 62% between 2009 and 2013, according to a US study presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) on 10 October 2014.
Pneumococcal infection is the most common cause of death preventable by a vaccine and can cause a variety of problems, including ear infections, pneumonia and meningitis.
The PCV13 replaced the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) for immunisation of children in the United States in 2010. Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data representing approximately 10% of the US population to examine the incidence of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease in children after the PCV13 vaccine was initiated.
“We’re at risk of living in a post-antibiotic world, where these miracle medications no longer work, but this vaccine is part of the solution to protecting ourselves from the growing threat of antibiotic resistance,” said lead researcher Sara Tomczyk, epidemic intelligence service officer for the Respiratory Diseases Branch at CDC in Atlanta. “Not only does this vaccine prevent pneumococcal infection, which means fewer antibiotics are prescribed, but it also prevents antibiotic-resistant infections.”
The US government’s Healthy People 2020 had set a goal of reducing antimicrobial-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease to 6 cases per 100,000 children. The CDC researchers found that the rate is now 3.5 cases per 100,000 children, meaning that the goal has been met early.
A 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced into the UK routine childhood immunisation programme in 2006 and was replaced by a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in April 2010.