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Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Apr;60(4):450-6.

Controlling invasive pneumococcal disease: is vaccination of at-risk groups sufficient?

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Wyeth Vaccines Research, Paris, France.


Risk factors for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) include young and old age, comorbidities (such as splenic dysfunction, immunodeficiencies, chronic renal disease, chronic heart or lung disease or cerebral spinal fluid leak), crowded environments or poor socioeconomic conditions. Universal use of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate (7vPncCRM) vaccine for infants and young children has led to significant decreases in IPD in the vaccinated population (direct protection), and there has also been a decrease in the incidence of IPD among the nonvaccinated population (indirect immunity; herd protection). While 7vPncCRM vaccine is administered universally to children in USA, many countries of the European Union have chosen to target children with comorbidities. This review aims to highlight individual risk factors for IPD, describe studies that evaluated pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in at-risk groups and estimate the proportion of at-risk children who may have been vaccinated in the European Union since the 7vPncCRM vaccine was introduced, using UK as an example. Although immunisation targeting only children with comorbidities may achieve satisfactory results for a few, many otherwise healthy children at risk simply because of their age will be neglected, and herd protection might not be established.

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