A comprehensive overview of pneumococcal vaccination recommendations for adults in South Africa, 2022

J Thorac Dis. 2022 Oct;14(10):4150-4172. doi: 10.21037/jtd-22-287.


Pneumococcal infections remain a common global cause of significant morbidity and mortality. The first recommendations for adult pneumococcal vaccination, published in South Africa in 1999, contained information only on the 23-valent polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23). With the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) for use in adults and the perceived uncertainty that most clinicians had regarding use of these vaccines in adults, these vaccine recommendations were updated in 2022. A Working Group, which consisted of individuals in various fields of medical practice in South Africa, who were from different areas of the country, and included clinicians from both the public and private sectors, was assembled to revise the recommendations. The expertise of the participants varied widely, dependent on their training and specialty, and encompassed different organ systems, disease conditions, and/or practice types. Each participant was allocated a different section, based on their expertise, for which they were required to do an extensive review of the current literature and write their section. The entire working group then reviewed the complete document several times, following additional comments and recommendations. This update contains recommendations for the use of both PPV23 and PCV13, either alone, or in sequence, both in vaccine naïve and in previously vaccinated individuals. It includes both age and risk categories, and encompasses the elderly (≥65 years), as well as younger adults (<65 years) with comorbid conditions or with high-risk conditions and/or immunocompromise. It is hoped that this review and its associated vaccine recommendations will clarify for clinicians, from all spheres of practice in South Africa, how, where, and when pneumococcal vaccines should be used in adults, with the ultimate goal of significantly increasing the appropriate use of these vaccines, in order to decrease the substantial morbidity and mortality associated with pneumococcal infections in adults in South Africa. Furthermore, it is hoped that this review of local epidemiological data and the manner in which this information was interpreted in the development of these local vaccine recommendations, could be used as an example for other regions of the world, to tailor their recommendations to locally available epidemiological data.

Keywords: Adult; pneumococcal; recommendations; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review