Why do some people believe that our pneumococcal vaccines don’t provide protection against the majority of strains of pneumococcal disease?
The usual suspects…
Pneumococcal Vaccines vs Pneumococcal Strains and Disease
The sad thing, is that they post a link to a study, Selective pressure: Rise of the nonencapsulated pneumococcus, that doesn’t necessarily support what they are saying.
“A major shortcoming of these vaccines is the focus on polysaccharide antigens that are not expressed by the majority of pneumococcal strains. For instance, licensed pneumococcal vaccines collectively cover roughly 25% of known serotypes and elicit no protection against nonencapsulated S. pneumoniae (NESp).”Selective pressure: Rise of the nonencapsulated pneumococcus
Or wait, maybe that is what the study is saying…
Of course, that’s taking into account that there are at least 98 different pneumococcal capsular serotypes.
And then there are many strains of pneumococcal bacteria that are unencapsulated.
Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 don’t provide protection against those strains either.
So our pneumococcal vaccines, Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23, do indeed only provide protection against some Pneumococcal strains.
So then why get vaccinated?
Of course, it’s because Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 do provide protection against the Pneumococcal strains and serotypes that cause most severe pneumococcal disease, like meningitis, pneumonia, and sepsis!
“Pneumococcal disease is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that has more than 90 serotypes. Most serotypes cause disease, but only a few produce the majority of invasive pneumococcal disease. The 10 most common types cause 62% of invasive disease worldwide.”Ask the Experts about Pneumococcal Vaccines
So it is very misleading to say that they don’t provide protection against the majority of strains.
They provide protection against the majority of strains that matter!
And we get vaccinated and protected with the Pneumococcal vaccines to get protected from those strains that cause invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae infections.
Both vaccines are indicated for children and adults:
- Prevnar 13 – routinely given as part of the childhood immunization schedule and to older kids (through age 71 months) and seniors (65 years and older) in special situations
- Pneumovax 23 – given to children and adults in special situations (age two to 65 years) and all seniors (65 years and older)
New vaccines are being developed to provide even broader serotype coverage!
More on Pneumococcal Vaccines
- Vaccines for Kids with Asplenia
- Vaccines in Special Situations
- Vaccine-Driven Resistance of Bacteria and Viruses
- Why Didn’t Everyone Die with Our 1980s Level of Vaccination Rates
- The Myth That You Can’t Vaccinate Away Bacteria
- Measles Vaccines vs Measles Strains
- Why Can’t We Make Better Vaccines?
- Selective pressure: Rise of the nonencapsulated pneumococcus
- Development of Next Generation Streptococcus pneumoniae Vaccines Conferring Broad Protection
- CDC – Pneumococcal Trends by Serotype Group
- CDC – Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Pneumococcal Surveillance Reports
- Ask the Experts about Pneumococcal Vaccines
- History of the Pneumococcal Vaccines