New pneumococcal vaccine version may prevent spread of the disease

A newly released study has shown that replacing the current pneumococcal vaccine with a new version may prevent the spread of the disease while remaining economically feasible.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, concludes that dumping the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate would be more effective, according to

Dr. Kenneth J. Smith of the University of Pittsburgh and his colleagues used hypothetical cohorts of 50-year-old Americans to estimate the cost-effectiveness of PCV13 vaccination strategies. The team extrapolated effectiveness estimates based on observations of the effects of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

"PCV13 might prevent more pneumococcal disease compared with current PPSV23 vaccination recommendations," the authors said, reports.

Overall, PCV13 vaccination was favored compared with PPSV23, but the analysis was sensitive to assumptions about PCV13's effectiveness against nonbacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia and the magnitude of potential indirect effects from childhood PCV13 on pneumococcal serotype distribution, according to

Not enough time has accrued with the new vaccine in the pediatric population to show how sizable the herd immunity effect will be for the adults they often infect, Eugene D. Shapiro of Yale University said in an accompanying editorial.

"To the extent that immunization of children with PCV13 reduces risk of nonbacteremic pneumococcal pneumonia in adults, the benefit of immunizing adults with PCV13 also will be reduced," Shapiro said, reports.