PCV, Hib Vaccines Have Greatly Reduced Global Disease Burden

Increased use of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the Haemophilus influenza (H influenzae) type b (Hib) vaccine has reduced the global burden of Streptococcus pneumoniae and H influenzae type b disease in children.1

These findings arose from a study of 2000-2015 World Health Organization and Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation collaboration country-specific estimates of pneumonia morbidity and mortality, as well as meningitis mortality.

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Pathogen specific deaths and cases were estimated using pneumococcal and Hib cause-specific proportions. The proportions of pneumonia and Hib meningitis cases and deaths attributable to these pathogens were also estimated. Factors including for annual HIV infection prevalence, access to care, and vaccine use were taken into account.

Ultimately, the researchers derived the following estimates:

  • 294,000 pneumococcal deaths in children aged 1 to 59 months occurred in 2015 (uncertainty range [UR] 192,000 to 366,000).
  • 29,500 Hib deaths occurred in children aged 1 to 59 months (UR 18,400 to 40,700).
  • 23,000 deaths were associated with pneumococcus occurred in children with HIV.
  • Fewer than 1000 deaths associated with Hib occurred in children with HIV.

The proportions of pneumococcal deaths and Hib deaths decreased by an estimated 51% and 90%, respectively, from 2000 to 2015. Approximately 81% of children who died of pneumococcus and 76% of children who died of Hib had presented with pneumonia.

The researchers noted that half of all pneumococcal deaths in 2015 occurred in India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Pakistan. The greatest number of 2015 Hib deaths occurred in India, Nigeria, China, and South Sudan.

“The widespread use of Hib vaccine and the recent introduction of PCV in countries with high child mortality is associated with reductions in Hib and pneumococcal cases and deaths,” the researchers concluded.

—Christina Vogt


1. Wahl B, O’Brien KL, Greenbaum A, et al. Burden of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b disease in children in the era of conjugate vaccines: global, regional, and national estimates for 2000–15. 2018;6(7):e744-e757.