Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine – UPSC Prelims

  • It is used to protect infants, young children and adults against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
  • Conjugate: It is a type of vaccine that joins a protein to an antigen in order to improve the protection that vaccine provides.
  • It contains purified capsular polysaccharide of pneumococcal serotypes conjugated to a carrier protein to improve antibody response.
  • The unique feature of the PCV is its composition which is specially tailored to the prevailing serotype prevalence of S Pneumoniae in India and other regions of the world.
What is Pneumococcal disease?
  • Pneumococcal disease is the name given to a group of diseases caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus).
  • Diseases caused by pneumococcus include
    • severe diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and bacteraemia (presence of bacteria in the blood)
    • milder diseases such as middle ear infection (otitis media), sinusitis and bronchitis.
  • Cases: 
    • Pneumococcal disease is a significant contributor to the under-five mortality rate worldwide.
    • Annually India witnesses an estimated 71% of pneumonia deaths and 57% of severe pneumonia cases.
    • Every year, nearly 67,800 children under five years of age die from pneumococcal diseases.
  • Vaccine: Hence, recognising its widespread fatality, WHO recommended the inclusion of PCV in routine childhood immunisation programmes in all countries.
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