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Aims: To ascertain whether the reduction in nasopharyngeal carriage of vaccine serotypes induced by pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PnCV) administered to infants persists beyond the age of 2 years.
Methods: Non-randomised, unblinded controlled study of 2–5 year old children who had received three doses of heptavalent PnCV (7VPnCV) in infancy and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine at 13 months, and unimmunised controls. Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken in summer (150 vaccinated subjects, 126 controls) and winter (143 vaccinated subjects, 188 controls). The swabs were cultured and serotyped for Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Results: Carriage rates (vaccinated subjects: 24.7% and 43.4%; controls: 27.0% and 41.0%, in summer and winter respectively) and carriage of vaccine serotypes (subjects: 10.0% and 30.0%; controls: 13.5% and 31.5%, in summer and winter respectively) were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: Effects of vaccination in infancy on rates of nasal carriage of pneumococcus and serotype replacement in children living in a largely unvaccinated population are no longer evident by 2–5 years of age.