2.3 Pneumococcal vaccine (PCV10)
Next we describe a new antibacterial vaccine that is being introduced into the routine EPI in Ethiopia.
Pneumococcal infections are described in the Communicable Diseases Module, Part 4, Study Session 35.
Pneumococcal vaccines (PCVs) protect against pneumonia and other pneumococcal infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. These bacteria can attack different parts of the body, causing serious infections in the lungs (pneumonia), the inner ear (acute otitis media), the bloodstream (bacteraemia), and the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). The WHO estimates that up to one million children die of pneumococcal infections every year, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. In Ethiopia, pneumonia is the leading cause of death among children under five years, accounting for 28% of all deaths in this age group.
The Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria exist in many different ‘strains’. Several different conjugate pneumococcal vaccines have been developed to give protection against different subsets of these strains. The vaccine that is being introduced in Ethiopia as part of the EPI is called PCV10, also known by its brand name Synflorix. PCV10 is highly effective at preventing infections caused by the strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria included in the vaccine preparation.