Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Effectiveness of the 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine against invasive pneumococcal disease in people 60 years or older

Angel Vila-Corcoles1, Olga Ochoa-Gondar1*, Jorge A Guzmán1, Teresa Rodriguez-Blanco2, Elisabet Salsench1, Cruz M Fuentes13 and EPIVAC Study Group1

Author Affiliations

1 Primary Care Service of Tarragona-Valls. Institut Catalá de la Salut. Tarragona, Spain

2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, IDIAP Jordi Gol Foundation, Barcelona, Spain

3 Department of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:73  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-73

Published: 18 March 2010



The 23-valent polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine (PPV) is currently recommended in elderly and high-risk adults. However, its efficacy in preventing pneumococcal infections remains controversial. This study assessed the clinical effectiveness of vaccination against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) among people over 60 years.


Population-based case-control study that included 88 case patients over 60 years-old with a laboratory-confirmed IPD (bacteraemic pneumonia, meningitis or sepsis) and 176 outpatient control subjects who were matched by primary care centre, age, sex and risk stratum. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for vaccination were calculated using conditional logistic regression, controlling for underlying conditions. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated as (1 - OR) ×100.


Pneumococcal vaccination rate was significantly lower in cases than in control subjects (38.6% vs 59.1%; p = 0.002). The adjusted vaccine effectiveness was 72% (OR: 0.28; 95% CI: 0.15-0.54) against all IPD and 77% (OR: 0.23; 95% CI: 0.08-0.60) against vaccine-type IPD. Vaccination was significantly effective against all IPD in both age groups: 60-79 years-old (OR 0.32; 95% CI: 0.14-0.74) and people 80 years or older (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.09-0.91). Vaccination appears significantly effective as for high-risk immunocompetent subjects (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.11-0.79) as well as for immunocompromised subjects (OR: 0.12; 95% CI: 0.03-0.53).


These findings confirm the effectiveness of the 23-valent PPV against IPD, and they also support the benefit of vaccination in preventing invasive infections among high-risk and older people.