Decline in pneumococcal disease in unimmunized adults is associated with vaccine-associated protection against colonization in toddlers and preschool-aged children
Vaccinating children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines disrupts transmission, reducing disease rates in unvaccinated adults. When considering changes in vaccination strategies (e.g., removing doses), it is critical to understand which groups of children contribute most to transmission. We used data from Israel to evaluate how the build-up of vaccine-associated immunity in children was associated with declines in IPD due to vaccine-targeted serotypes in unimmunized adults. Data on vaccine uptake and prevalence of colonization with PCV-targeted serotypes were obtained from a unique study conducted among children visiting an emergency department in southern Israel and from surveys of colonization from central Israel. Data on invasive pneumococcal disease in adults were obtained from a nationwide surveillance study. We compared the trajectory of decline of IPD due to PCV-targeted serotypes in adults with the trajectory of decline of colonization prevalence and trajectory of increase in vaccine-derived protection against pneumococcal carriage among different age groupings of children. The declines in IPD in adults were most closely associated with the declines in colonization and increased vaccination coverage in children in the range of 36-59 months of age. This suggests that preschool-aged children, rather than infants, are responsible for maintaining the indirect benefits of PCVs.
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