Preventing Pneumococcal Infections

Pneumococcal infections are caused by streptococcus pneumoniae commonly referred to as pneumococcus.

Globally, more than 2 million people die of pneumococcal infections every year of which a million are children below 5 years.


Common cause of:

  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Bacteremia
  • Otitis media
  • Sinusitis
  • Joint & bone inflammation
  • Cardiac infections
  • Conjunctivitis

Prevention through immunization:


The number refers to the amount of different serotypes the vaccine can protect against: 13 serotypes in PCV13 and 23 serotypes in PPSV23.



  • PCV is 77% to 94% efficacious against vaccine serotypes, in many populations of healthy children.
  • PCV caused significant decrease in pneumococcal pneumonia admissions for children 2-4 years (73%) and adults 18-39 years (30%).
  • PCV decreases antibiotic-resistant Invasive Pneumococcal Disease (IPD).
  • PCV is the only vaccine in the last 20 years to show a significant reduction in all-cause child mortality. 7 deaths were prevented for every 1000 children vaccinated with PCV in The Gambia study.
  • PCV resulted in less IPD in all age groups in US due to herd immunity.
  • The potential impact of PCV is greater in countries with high child mortality, where pneumococcal disease incidence is highest. The WHO SAGE report concludes that introduction of PCV is a “high priority” in these countries.
  • PCV is cost effective in most countries.
  • PCV is well-tolerated with no serious adverse effects.

PCV is highly recommended for the protection against pneumococcal diseases in children and in adults above 50 years. It is not covered under our National Immunisation Programme but is readily available in private clinics and hospitals. Consult your doctor about getting vaccinated and learn more about protecting you and your family against the threat of pneumococcal diseases.

An educational contribution by Malaysian Paediatric Association.

Subscribe to our parenting newsletter.