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Clin Infect Dis. 2005 May 15;40(10):1511-8. Epub 2005 Apr 7.

The impact of a 9-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine on the public health burden of pneumonia in HIV-infected and -uninfected children.

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National Health Laboratory Service, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PnCV) may be used as a probe to define the burden of pneumococcal disease and better characterize the clinical presentation of pneumococcal pneumonia.


This study used a 9-valent PnCV to define different end points of vaccine efficacy and the preventable burden of pneumococcal pneumonia in 39,836 children who were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in South Africa.


Whereas the point-estimate of vaccine efficacy was greatest when measured against the outcome of vaccine-serotype specific pneumococcal bacteremic pneumonia (61%; P = .01), the sensitivity of blood culture to measure the burden of pneumococcal pneumonia prevented by vaccination was only 2.6% in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-uninfected children and 18.8% in HIV-infected children. Only 37.8% of cases of pneumococcal pneumonia prevented by PnCV were detected by means of chest radiographs showing alveolar consolidation. A clinical diagnosis of pneumonia provided the best estimate of the burden of pneumococcal pneumonia prevented through vaccination in HIV-uninfected children (267 cases prevented per 100,000 child-years) and HIV-infected children (2573 cases prevented per 100,000 child-years).


Although outcome measures with high specificity, such as bacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia, provide a better estimate as to vaccine efficacy, the burden of disease prevented by vaccination is best evaluated using outcome measures with high sensitivity, such as a clinical diagnosis of pneumonia.

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