The worldwide impact of the seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 May;31(5):501-8. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31824de9f6.


Background: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) are emerging as one of the most promising means to prevent pediatric disease. The 7-valent PCV (PCV-7) has been extensively evaluated in clinical trials, and recent evidence from the introduction of PCV-7 through national immunization programs has demonstrated impact on pneumococcal disease.

Methods: Clinical trials have shown PCV-7 to be effective against the more severe forms of pneumococcal infections: pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), as well as overall child mortality. A review shows the tremendous impact PCV-7 has had to date, and the potential further benefits of the emerging multi-valent vaccines.

Results: Since its introduction, the PCV-7 has substantially reduced the incidence of IPD, hospital admissions due to pneumonia and acute otitis media in numerous, mostly high income, low-disease burden countries. The reductions in IPD and pneumonia have also been observed among unvaccinated age groups in countries with routine use of PCV-7, demonstrating that PCV-7 provides herd immunity. Some settings observed an increase in rate of nonvaccine serotype IPD, yet rates of overall and vaccine-serotype IPD show marked reductions post-PCV-7 introduction. Limited data are available on the impact of PCV-7 in lower income countries. The available data from efficacy trials from The Gambia and South Africa suggest that PCV-7 will have substantial impact on reducing pneumococcal disease.

Conclusion: PCV-7 has shown dramatic reduction in disease and mortality rates in the countries in which it has been introduced. The newly introduced 10-valent and 13-valent pneumococcal vaccines are expected to have substantial disease impact, but monitoring is essential to determine their true impact and sustain further introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Mortality
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gambia / epidemiology
  • Global Health*
  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Herd / immunology
  • Immunization Programs
  • Incidence
  • Pneumococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Pneumococcal Infections / mortality
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / mortality
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines