Pneumococcal vaccine represents the downfall of the attempt to control disease by artificial means. The perceived need for this vaccine arose because decades of misuse and overuse of antibiotic drugs gave rise to drug-resistant strains of pneumococci. In addition, by providing vacant living space for other pathogens to occupy, the introduction of a vaccine against Haemophilus B had apparently helped to increase pneumococci while decreasing Haemophilus B. Today, in turn, pneumococcal vaccine has apparently increased non-vaccine serotypes of pneumococcus while decreasing vaccine serotypes.
A March, 2008 B.C. study, published in the Canadian Respiratory Journal, analyzed hospital data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information which showed that the rate of empyema, a little-known but potentially fatal lung infection, had increased 30% overall between 1995 and 2003. Although the disease mainly afflicts the elderly, a “distressing” finding was that the numbers had doubled in patients under 19, and increased more than 450% in one-to-four year olds. The pus that forms around the lungs of empyema patients must sometimes be removed via chest surgery; on average, they spend three weeks in hospital. Head researcher, Dr. Christian Finley and his team suggested that pressure from Prevnar® pneumococcal vaccine had increased pneumococcus serotype 1, which is not included in the vaccine and is the most common cause of the empyema. They said there may have also been an even greater shift from a prevalence of pneumococci to one of Staphylococcus or E coli bacteria.
In an attempt to counteract these problems, by November, 2010 the National Advisory Committee on Immunization was recommending that Canadian babies be given a new PCV13 (pneumococcal vaccine containing thirteen serotypes of pneumococcus), ie six more than in the old vaccine, Prevnar®. One month later, Dr. Rajiv Mittal, MBBS of Delhi, India reported a study which showed a 75% increase in the rate of Sudden Infant Death in babies who’d been vaccinated with the new PCV13 compared to those vaccinated with the PCV7. A Calgary study published in 2014 has found that only two years after the introduction of PCV13 in 2010, 94% of circulating pneumococci were not represented in that vaccine.
Related VCC Articles
- Pneumococcal Vaccine – Looking at the Bigger Picture (6/26/2009)
- The Perilous Haemophilus, or is it… Pneumonia (4/7/2009)
- Pneumococcal Diseases and their Vaccine (11/27/2008)
Related External Articles
- The U.K. Pediatric Pneumococcal Vaccine – The Next Storm by F. Edward Yazbak, MD, FAAP July 31, 2006
- More on Prevnar
- Pneumococcal Vaccine and Otitis Media by Dr. Erdem Cantekin
- FDA Told Pneumococcal Vaccine Likely to Cause Epidemic of Diabetes
- pneumococcal vaccine package inserts