PloS one 2017 08 1612(8) e0183348 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0183348
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes about 826,000 deaths of children in the world each year and many health facility visits. To reduce the burden of pneumococcal disease, many nations have added pneumococcal conjugate vaccines to their national immunization schedules. Nicaragua was the first country eligible for GAVI Alliance funding to introduce the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in 2010, provided to infants at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The goal of this study was to evaluate the population impact of the first five years of the program.
Numbers of visits for pneumonia, pneumonia-related deaths, and bacterial meningitis in both children and adults, and infant deaths between 2008 and 2015 were collected from all 107 public health facilities in León Department. Vital statistics data provided additional counts of pneumonia-related deaths that occurred outside health facilities. Adjusted incidence rates and incidence rate ratios (IRRa) in the vaccine (2011-2015) and pre-vaccine periods (2008-2010) were estimated retrospectively using official population estimates as exposure time.
The IRRa for pneumonia hospitalizations was 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66, 0.75) for infants, and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.85, 0.99) for one year-olds. The IRRa for post-neonatal infant mortality was 0.56 (95% CI: 0.41, 0.77). In the population as a whole, ambulatory visits and hospitalizations for pneumonia, as well as pneumonia-related mortality and rates of bacterial meningitis were lower in the vaccine period.
During the first five years of program implementation, reductions were observed in health facility visits for pneumonia in immunized age groups and infant mortality, which would be hard to achieve with any other single public health intervention. Future study is warranted to understand whether the lack of a booster dose (e.g., at 12 months) may be responsible for the small reductions in pneumonia hospitalizations observed in one year-olds as compared to infants.