Pneumococcal disease

Diseases caused by pneumococcus are often life-threatening. Antibiotics and pneumococcal vaccines save many lives every year. The best efficiency of pneumococcal vaccines has been found in invasive pneumococcal diseases, not so much in milder diseases such as middle ear infection.

Pneumococcal vaccines are included in the pediatric vaccination programme in the majority of developed countries and are also strongly recommended by the World Health Organization to anyone over 65 years of age. In post-viral pneumococcal infection, the benefits of pneumococcal vaccines have been demonstrated, at least in the prevention of complications following influenza, metapneumovirus, and RSV disease.

Does the PCV pneumococcal vaccine help in a COVID-19 pandemic?

Significant complications caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus are particularly associated with pneumonia and the consequent development of ARD syndrome. There has been no real research evidence, for example, on the involvement of pneumococcus in deaths. However, there is evidence that patients develop bacterial complications during the course of the disease and that secondary bacterial infections may be significantly involved in increasing disease mortality.

Pneumococcal vaccines are available for the adult population and have been recommended for the elderly over the age of 65 even before the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic will certainly not diminish their importance.

The pneumococcal vaccine is also useful for people under 65 years of age

Given the risk of pneumonia associated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the information we have on the link between pneumococcal disease and other viral diseases, it is quite justified to lower the recommended age in the event of the pandemic. The pneumococcus vaccine is already officially in use for people over 50 years of age. Again, this cannot be an absolute minimum age for taking the vaccine. Many people under the age of 50 have also died of pneumonia during the pandemic.