Although the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that children receive the new pneumococcal vaccine PCV7 beginning at 2 months of age, provincial implementation of the recommendation has been slow. The vaccine protects against infections that result in pneumonia, otitis media, meningitis and other diseases. In Alberta, however, the vaccine is a publicly funded service.
This report of the experience with the vaccine in the greater Calgary region shows 2 important results. First, rates of severe infection due to Streptococcus pneumoniae (the causative agent and target of the vaccine) have fallen dramatically among children, especially for the 7 common varieties of S. pneumoniae that are covered by the vaccine. Second, there is a spillover effect among adults over 65 years of age (for whom a similar vaccine is recommended and widely used in Alberta): rates of invasive infections due to the 7 serotypes of S. pneumoniae covered by the child vaccine have also fallen.
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