Pneumococcal vaccination: what have we learnt so far and what can we expect in the future?

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Jan;34(1):19-31. doi: 10.1007/s10096-014-2208-6. Epub 2014 Aug 23.


Individuals <2 years and ≥ 50 years of age, as well as those with other specific risk factors, are especially vulnerable to invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Conjugate vaccines have been developed against encapsulated bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae to provide improved immune responses. The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) has significantly reduced the burden of vaccine-type pneumococcal diseases in children, including invasive disease and pneumonia and acute otitis media. There have also been significant declines in antimicrobial resistance in 7-valent vaccine serotypes and carriage of S. pneumoniae in the post-PCV7 era. Two to three years after the introduction of PCV13, there is emerging, global evidence of a reduced burden of pneumococcal diseases in children, including declines in IPD (UK and Germany) and nasopharyngeal carriage of PCV13 serotypes (Portugal and France). The functional immunogenicity of PCV13 in individuals ≥ 50 years of age has been demonstrated in clinical trials in comparison with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine and for children and adults 6 to 49 years of age. Between 2011 and 2013, PCV13 received market authorisation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for these additional age groups and is now available in Europe for the prevention of pneumococcal disease in all age groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / prevention & control*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Humans
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology
  • Pneumococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Prevalence
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / classification*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data


  • 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine
  • Heptavalent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines