April 19, 2017
Pneumococcal vaccines are manufactured to fight against thebacteria Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria. They are also used in few cases of meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. The 2 types of vaccines available in the market are polysaccharide vaccines and conjugate vaccines. The vaccines are given intramuscular or subcutaneous. WHO has recommended using conjugated vaccine in routine immunization of children including those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
In the 1980s, the first pneumococcal vaccine was developed and they are on WHO’s essential medicines list since then. The vaccines works well but cannot prevent 100% of cases. Research has shown that 1 dose of conjugated pneumococcal vaccine protects at least 80% of babies from pneumococcal disease, at least 75 % of adults above 65 years of age from pneumococcal disease, 45% of adults above 65 years of age from pneumococcal pneumonia. 1 dose of pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects 50 to 85% OF healthy adults from pneumococcal disease. The polysaccharide vaccine is given in a single dose with one or two booster doses if required. Conjugate vaccine is given to babies in 3 doses at 2 month, 12 month and 15 months.
Pneumococcal bacteria have many serotypes which are geographically scattered throughout the world. Hence more R&D is required to find out the most effective vaccines, especially in developing countries. Research is being done, to develop a vaccine which can be administered through nose instead of skin or muscles. Also, antibodies which are serotype-specific, anticapsular and monoclonal are being studied recently and they have shown prolonged survival rates, decrease in inflammatory response and reduction of bacterial loads in mouse. Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and 5 countries across the world have invested 1.5 billion US dollars for research on the disease and reduce child mortality because of the same.
Possible side effects of the vaccines includes redness, pain, swelling, myalgia, fever, headache, loss of appetite, irritability etc.
Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.