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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2014 Jan;33 Suppl 2:S172-81. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000000076.

Dosing schedules for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine: considerations for policy makers.

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  • 1From the *Respiratory Diseases Branch, Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, †Institute for Child Health, London, United Kingdom; and ‡International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.

Abstract

Since second generation pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) targeting 10 and 13 serotypes became available in 2010, the number of national policy makers considering these vaccines has steadily increased. An important consideration for a national immunization program is the timing and number of doses-the schedule-that will best prevent disease in the population. Data on disease epidemiology and the efficacy or effectiveness of PCV schedules are typically considered when choosing a schedule. Practical concerns, such as the existing vaccine schedule, and vaccine program performance are also important. In low-income countries, pneumococcal disease and deaths typically peak well before the end of the first year of life, making a schedule that provides PCV doses early in life (eg, a 6-, 10- and 14-week schedule) potentially the best option. In other settings, a schedule including a booster dose may address disease that peaks in the second year of life or may be seen to enhance a schedule already in place. A large and growing body of evidence from immunogenicity studies, as well as clinical trials and observational studies of carriage, pneumonia and invasive disease, has been systematically reviewed; these data indicate that schedules of 3 or 4 doses all work well, and that the differences between these regimens are subtle, especially in a mature program in which coverage is high and indirect (herd) effects help enhance protection provided directly by a vaccine schedule. The recent World Health Organization policy statement on PCVs endorsed a schedule of 3 primary doses without a booster or, as a new alternative, 2 primary doses with a booster dose. While 1 schedule may be preferred in a particular setting based on local epidemiology or practical considerations, achieving high coverage with 3 doses is likely more important than the specific timing of doses.

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