Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have shown a high degree of success in preventing pneumococcal bacteraemia in children. They also reduce the acquisition of carriage of vaccine serotypes in the nasopharynx, and reduce otitis media caused by those serotypes. Non-vaccine serotypes, which can colonise vaccinated infants, are associated with otitis media in these children and lower the overall effectiveness of the vaccine to this disorder. Longer term studies, however, could show that immunised children develop immunity to a broad range of pneumococcal serotypes at a younger age than non-immunised children. Preliminary data suggest that these vaccines could reduce the burden of radiologically confirmed pneumonia. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines interrupt the transmission of antibiotic-resistant pneumococci and thus decrease the burden of antibiotic resistance in immunised children and in their contacts. Studies are underway to assess conjugate vaccine efficacy against invasive disease, pneumonia, and all-cause mortality in developing countries, and to assess the potential use of these vaccines in adults.