Global Pneumococcal Disease and Vaccine

Global Pneumococcal Disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Streptococcus pneumoniae kills close to half a million children under 5 years old worldwide every year. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries.

S. pneumoniae is the leading cause of pneumonia mortality globally. It accounted for more deaths than all other causes (etiologies) combined in 2016.1 Most of these deaths occur in countries in Africa and Asia.

Pneumococcal Vaccine Use Globally

In 2007, a WHO position paperpdf iconexternal icon recommended all countries include pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in the routine infant immunization schedule. WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization recommends either currently available PCV formulation: 10- or 13-valent PCV.

Countries that introduced PCV have observed large reductions in severe (invasive) pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. As of March 2020, 146 countries out of 194 WHO member states have introduced PCV into their National Immunization Program either nationally or sub-nationally. High-income countries were the early adopters of PCV. With the support from Gavi, The Vaccine Allianceexternal icon, many low-income countries have been able to introduce PCV into their national immunization program. Of the 73 Gavi-eligible countries, 60 (82%) introduced PCV. Despite this progress, 55% (approximately 74 million) of the global infant population are still not receiving PCV.2

Figure. A total of 142 countries have introduced PCV from 2000 through 2018. Of the 73 Gavi-eligible countries, 59 (81%) introduced PCV. Among non-Gavi eligible countries, PCV has been introduced in 6 (50%) of 12 lower middle-income countries, 26 (51%) of 51 upper middle-income countries, and 51 (88%) of 58 high-income countries. Figure courtesy of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC).

Figure. A total of 142 countries have introduced PCV from 2000 through 2018. Of the 73 Gavi-eligible countries, 59 (81%) introduced PCV. Among non-Gavi eligible countries, PCV has been introduced in 6 (50%) of 12 lower middle-income countries, 26 (51%) of 51 upper middle-income countries, and 51 (88%) of 58 high-income countries. Figure courtesy of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC).

1 GBD 2016 Lower Respiratory Infections Collaborators. Estimates of the global, regional, and national morbidity, mortality, and aetiologies of lower respiratory infections in 195 countries, 1990-2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016external icon. Lancet Infect Dis. 2018 Sep 19. pii: S1473-3099(18)30310-4. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30310-4.

2 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). View-hub report: Global vaccine introduction and Implementation, March 2019pdf iconexternal icon.

CDC Global Activities with Pneumococcus

CDC works in collaboration with WHO, Ministries of Health, and other international partners on pneumococcal activities. These partners help to strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity to describe disease burden and monitor emergence of non-vaccine serotypes. Additional efforts include conducting PCV impact evaluations to inform and sustain the use of PCV globally.

Global Pneumococcus Resources

Page last reviewed: September 1, 2020