Mathematical modeling of pneumococcal transmission dynamics in response to PCV13 infant vaccination in Germany predicts increasing IPD burden due to serotypes included in next-generation PCVs

PLoS One. 2023 Feb 15;18(2):e0281261. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281261. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: Two next-generation pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs), a 15- and a 20-valent PCV (PCV15 and PCV20), have recently been licensed for use in adults, and PCV15 has also been licensed in children. We developed a dynamic transmission model specific for Germany, with the aim to predict carriage prevalence and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) burden for serotypes included in these vaccines.

Methods: The model allows to follow serotype distributions longitudinally both in the absence and presence of PCV vaccinations. We considered eight age cohorts and seven serotype groups according to the composition of different pneumococcal vaccines. This comprises the additional serotypes contained in PCV15 and PCV20 but not in PCV13.

Results: The model predicted that by continuing the current vaccine policy (standard vaccination with PCV13 in children and with PPSV23 in adults) until 2031, IPD case counts due to any serotype in children <2 years of age will remain unchanged. There will be a continuous decrease of IPD cases in adults aged 16-59y, but a 20% increase in adults ≥60y. Furthermore, there will be a steady decrease of the proportion of carriage and IPD due to serotypes included in PCV7 and PCV13 over the model horizon and a steady rise of non-PCV13 serotypes in carriage and IPD. The highest increase for both pneumococcal carriage and absolute IPD case counts was predicted for serotypes 22F and 33F (included in both PCV15 and PCV20) and serotypes 8, 10A, 11A, 12F, and 15B (included in PCV20 only), particularly in older adults. Between 2022 and 2031, serotypes included in PCV20 only are expected to cause 19.7-25.3% of IPD cases in adults ≥60y.

Conclusions: We conclude that introduction of next-generation PCVs for adults may prevent a substantial and increasing proportion of adult IPDs, with PCV20 having the potential to provide the broadest protection against pneumococcal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pneumococcal Infections* / epidemiology
  • Pneumococcal Infections* / prevention & control
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Serogroup
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae*
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Conjugate


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Conjugate

Grants and funding

This study was sponsored by Pfizer Pharma GmbH, Germany. The co-authors employed by Pfizer (CT, RS, CvE, EM, and JSR) supported MH and MS regarding study design, data collection and analysis, and preparation of the manuscript. Pfizer had no role in the decision to publish. Epidemiological modeling was also supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the project PROGNOSIS (grant number #031L0296A). The BMBF had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.