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Dramatic fall in invasive pneumococcal disease infections in children

Invasive pneumococcal disease has halved in children under two since the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that covers 13 serotypes (PCV13) replaced the PCV7 vaccine in April 2010.

Health Protection Agency research published in Vaccine has shown the benefits of PCV13 replacing PCV7 in the two-, four-, and 13-month immunisation schedule in England and Wales from that date.

Vaccine effectiveness in eligible children was estimated at 78% for two doses under one year, and 77% for one dose over a year, using non-vaccine type pneumococcal disease as a control. Rates of disease due to PCV13-only serotypes halved in children under two years in the study period.

Professor Elizabeth Miller, head of the immunisation department at the HPA, said: ‘Our results are the first indication that the additional serotypes 131 in PCV13 are efficacious.'

'The effect of PCV13 was evident at the population level with a halving of cases in children under two years due to one of the additional serotypes covered by PCV13 in the first epidemiological year after its introduction.'

Vaccine 2011, published online 14 Oct

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