Streptococcus pneumoniae has more than 95 serotypes, each of which presumably can cause sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, and acute otitis media. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) targeted against a limited number of serotypes have nonetheless revealed an impressive impact on each manifestation of pneumococcal disease. At the same time, growing evidence of significant non-vaccine type (NVT) replacement disease following implementation of infant PCV programs has raised questions about the long-term viability of PCV immunization strategies and how to optimize PCV formulations. We discuss here theoretical and practical considerations regarding serotype replacement, and provide a snapshot of the most important NVT types seen to date after implementation of the 2 higher-valent PCVs.
Keywords: Acute Otitis Media; Invasive Pneumococcal Disease; Meningitis; Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines; Serotype replacement; Streptococcus pneumoniae.