News Release

Pneumococcal vaccine reduces antibiotic-resistant infections in children by 62 percent

Important tool in combating superbugs

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Vaccines and Antibiotic Resistance

audio: The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) has been hugely successful -- reducing severe antibiotic-resistant infections such as pneumonia and meningitis in young children by 62 percent in the four years since it was introduced. Recommended for all children under five years old, PCV13 is proving to be part of the solution to protecting ourselves from the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. The vaccine is so effective it helped Healthy People 2020 meet its goal to decrease antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease nine years early. view more 

Credit: IDWeek

PHILADELPHIA –The pneumococcal vaccine recommended for young children not only prevents illness and death, but also has dramatically reduced severe antibiotic-resistant infections, suggests nationwide research being presented at IDWeek 2014™. Pneumococcal infection – which can cause everything from ear infections to pneumonia and meningitis – is the most common vaccine-preventable bacterial cause of death.

The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13), first available in 2010 (replacing 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV7), reduced the incidence of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease by 62 percent from 2009 to 2013 among children under five years old. The study is the first report of the effectiveness of PCV13 to combat antibiotic-resistant infections, a vaccination recommended for children under five years old. Three-quarters of states require it for entry into daycare, and 85 percent of U.S. children have received the recommended four doses.

"We're at risk of living in a post-antibiotic world, where these miracle medications no longer work, but this vaccine is part of the solution to protecting ourselves from the growing threat of antibiotic resistance," said lead researcher Sara Tomczyk, PHN, MSc, epidemic intelligence service (EIS) officer for the Respiratory Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. "Not only does this vaccine prevent pneumococcal infection, which means fewer antibiotics are prescribed, but it also prevents antibiotic-resistant infections."

The U.S. government's Healthy People 2020 initiative set a goal of reduction of antimicrobial-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease from 9.3 to 6 cases per 100,000 children. In the course of analyzing the data for this study, the team realized the goal had been met nine years early due to the effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine. Currently, the rate is 3.5 cases per 100,000 children.

PCV13 is given to children in four doses, at two, four, six and 12 through 15 months of age. The study collected data representing approximately 10 percent of the United States, which is considered illustrative of the country as a whole, said Tomczyk. PCV13 is effective against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria, while PCV7 was effective against seven. One dose of PCV13 also is now recommended for all adults 65 and older, followed by a dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) six to 12 months later. Additionally, one dose of PCV13 is recommended for adults 19 and older with certain cancers, HIV and kidney failure, followed by doses of PPSV23.



- The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) significantly reduced serious infections, including those caused by antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to the first research on the vaccine.

- Since the vaccine was introduced in 2010, the incidence of antibiotic-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease decreased by 62 percent among children under five years old.

- The vaccine is so effective the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing antimicrobial-resistant invasive pneumococcal disease from 9.3 to 6 cases per 100,000 children was met nine years early and has since dropped to 3.5 cases.

- PCV13 prevents serious illness, such as pneumonia, meningitis and blood stream infections. The vaccine is recommended for all children five and younger.

About IDWeek

IDWeek 2014TM is the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). With the theme "Advancing Science, Improving Care," IDWeek features the latest science and bench-to-bedside approaches in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including HIV, across the lifespan. IDWeek 2014 takes place October 8-12 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. For more information, visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.