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Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Impact on Meningitis and Pneumonia Among Children Aged <5 Years-Zimbabwe, 2010-2016.

BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of pneumonia and meningitis in children aged <5 years. Zimbabwe introduced 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) in 2012 using a 3-dose infant schedule with no booster dose or catch-up campaign. We evaluated the impact of PCV13 on pediatric pneumonia and meningitis.

METHODS: We examined annual changes in the proportion of hospitalizations due to pneumonia and meningitis among children aged <5 years at Harare Central Hospital (HCH) pre-PCV13 (January 2010-June 2012) and post-PCV13 (July 2013-December 2016) using a negative binomial regression model, adjusting for seasonality. We also evaluated post-PCV13 changes in serotype distribution among children with confirmed pneumococcal meningitis at HCH and acute respiratory infection (ARI) trends using Ministry of Health outpatient data.

RESULTS: Pneumonia hospitalizations among children aged <5 years steadily declined pre-PCV13; no significant change in annual decline was observed post-PCV13. Post-PCV13 introduction, meningitis hospitalization decreased 30% annually (95% confidence interval [CI], -42, -14) among children aged 12-59 months, and no change was observed among children aged 0-11 months. Pneumococcal meningitis caused by PCV13 serotypes decreased from 100% in 2011 to 50% in 2016. Annual severe and moderate outpatient ARI decreased by 30% (95% CI, -33, -26) and 7% (95% CI, -11, -2), respectively, post-PCV13 introduction.

CONCLUSIONS: We observed declines in pediatric meningitis hospitalizations, PCV13-type pneumococcal meningitis, and severe and moderate ARI outpatient visits post-PCV13 introduction. Low specificity of discharge codes, changes in referral patterns, and improvements in human immunodeficiency virus care may have contributed to the lack of additional declines in pneumonia hospitalizations post-PCV13 introduction.

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