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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Sep;8(9):1317-20. doi: 10.4161/hv.20654. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine: a newer vaccine available in India.

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Department of Community Medicine, Pt. B.D. Sharma PGIMS, Rohtak, Haryana India.


Streptococcus pneumoniae, or "pneumococcus," causes pneumonia and infections of the brain and blood that are responsible for significant mortality in children under five years as well as in the elderly. Pneumococcal diseases are a major public health problem worldwide. S. pneumoniae is responsible for 15-50% of all episodes of community-acquired pneumonia, 30-50% of all cases of acute otitis media, and a significant proportion of bacterial meningitis and bacteremia. S. pneumoniae kills at least one million children under the age of five every year, which is more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. More than 70% of the deaths are in developing countries. In 2007, pneumococcal pneumonia was the leading infectious killer of children worldwide. Perhaps more importantly, pneumonia remains the leading killer of children in India. A recent UNICEF publication estimated that 410,000 children under age 5 y die of pneumonia each year in India, and recent data shows that an estimated 25% of all child deaths in India are due to pneumonia. The fact that this high burden of pneumonia has remained undiminished in India in spite of economic growth and decline in child mortality due to other diseases is a reminder of the importance of tackling pneumonia head-on with dedicated resources. The burden of pneumococcal meningitis, which constitutes about half of all childhood meningitis cases in most settings and a greater proportion of meningitis deaths, makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that the pneumococcus is responsible for 1 million child deaths each year. Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) has offered to supply PCV at a cost of 0.15-0.30 USD/dose to India for inclusion in the national immunization schedule and commits to extending this support until the year 2015. Pneumococcal vaccination in not recommended in children aged 5 and above.

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