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Date of preparation: March 2018

Who is at risk of paediatric pneumococcal disease?

Although pneumococcal disease can occur in persons of any age, children under 2 years of age are one of the groups that are at increased risk of IPD 1

How prevalent is pneumococcal disease in children?

Pneumococcal disease is a major public health problem, estimated to result in the deaths of half a millon children under 5 years of age worldwide every year. The majority of these deaths occur in developing countries. 2

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines in all countries, urging that the highest priority for introduction should be given to countries with high pneumonia and mortality rates in children under 5 years of age. 3 In 2013, the WHO estimated 920,000 children under 5 years of age died from pneumonia, accounting for 16% of deaths in children of the same age group. 4

Pneumonia is particularly prevalent in the developing world, with 148 million episodes per year (estimate collected during the pre-conjugated vaccine era), accounting for more than 95% of all new cases worldwide.

There are >50,000 cases of pneumococcal bacteraemia in the US, with pneumococci causing 13%-19% of all cases of bacterial meningitis. 6 Bacteremia is the most common Invasive clinical presentation of pneumococcal infection among children 2 years of age and younger, accounting for approximately 70% of IPD. 6 Pneumococcal meningitis is the cause of >50% of all IPD in new born infants. 7


  1. NHS Choices. Pneumococcal infections. Available at: [Last accessed June 2015].
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccines and Preventable Diseases. Available at: [Last accessed Nov 2019].
  3. World Health Organization. Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals. Available at: [Last accessed Nov 2019].
  4. WHO. Pneumonia Fact Sheet No 331. 2014. Available at: [Last accessed June 2015].
  5. Rudan I, et al. Epidemiology and etiology of childhood pneumonia. Bull World Health Organ 2008; 86: 408–16.
  6. CDC. Chapter 16: Pneumococcal Disease. In: Atkinson W, Wolfe S, Hamborsky J, eds. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases [Pink Book]. 12th edn. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation; 2012e: 233–48.
  7.  WHO. Global review of the distribution of pneumococcal disease by age and region. Available at: epidemiology_PCV_schedules_session_nov11.pdf [last accessed June 2015].