This Vaccine Dropped Disease Rates in Kids

Pneumococcal vaccine reduced incidence of pneumococcal disease in children

(RxWiki News) A new pneumococcal vaccine may be key to reducing illness in kids.

A new study found that the introduction of a new pneumococcal vaccine may have decreased invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) cases.

Andrea C. Farnham, MPH, of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, led this study.

Farnham and team noted that significant declines in IPD cases due to the vaccine “represent a substantial achievement for public health immunization programs in the 21st century.”

IPD is one of the top causes of bacterial diseases, such as pneumonia (lung infection where air sacs are inflamed), meningitis (inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord) and bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the blood).

In March 2010, a new vaccine, 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), was introduced to the routine schedule of childhood immunizations.

Farnham and team wanted to see whether IPD rates among children younger than 5 living in New York City went down after the introduction of PCV13.

These researchers looked at New York City disease surveillance data between January of 2007 and December of 2012. A total of 468 IPD cases were included in this study.

Total IPD incidence went down by nearly 70 percent, from 21 cases per 100,000 people to about 6 cases, Farnham and team found.

While IPD incidence went down among all age groups, the biggest decrease occurred in children younger than 1 — with nearly an 80 percent drop.

Kristen A. Feemster, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, noted in an editorial about this study that many parents refused or delayed vaccines.

Dr. Feemster wrote that “a real-time example of the effect of a successful immunization program should move us to continue to advocate for strong vaccine policies that support uptake of all routinely recommended vaccines. Vaccine-preventable diseases remain a significant threat to children’s health. Ongoing vigilance is needed to ensure ongoing protection.”

This study was published May 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.

The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest or funding sources.

Review Date: 
May 4, 2015