Vaccines boost prevention against pneumococcal disease – 08/01/2022

With the arrival of new viruses, such as Covid-19 and monkeypox, Brazilians have increased the demand for vaccines that can help provide better protection against viruses and bacteria. But diseases that can cause death have been around for a long time. A powerful bacterium is the pneumococcus, scientifically known as Streptococcus pneumoniae. This, however, may cause less damage after the application of vaccines.

The public health network, through the SUS (Unified Health System), and the private network, through sales in pharmacies, reinforce vaccination against the bacteria responsible for pneumococcal diseases, with 23-valent and 13-valent pneumococcal vaccines. conjugated.


Pneumococcal disease is a collection of pneumococcal-related bacterial infections, including pneumonia, bacterial ear infection, and bacterial (acute) sinusitis and meningitis.

The infection progresses when bacteria invade the bloodstream, tissues and fluids circulating in the spinal cord and brain. According to Doctor Roberto Figueiredo, known as Dr. Pneumococcal bacteria and diseases can cause serious harm, especially to at-risk groups, such as people over 50.

“We have a high rate of older people dying from severe pneumonia, with a high mortality rate. 23-valent pneumococcal infection covers 23 protective serotypes and 90% of the main pathogens that affect humans, in addition to helping against other bacteria that cause pneumonia, especially in people over 50 . This vaccine uses the deactivated pathogen (microorganism), so it is very safe,” says Figueiredo.

According to a study published by Value in Health, an international journal of health research, from January 2014 to December 2019, the annual average was 272,000 cases of hospitalizations and 71,000 deaths due to pneumococcal diseases – only among people over 60 (data taken from SUS). Pneumonia was responsible for 78.6% of cases.

The 13-valent conjugate vaccine, as explained by the chief immunologist of Brasil Sem Alergia, Marcello Bossois, affects 13 serotypes, with immunopotentiating proteins that improve the system’s immune response.


“Conjugate 13 ends up having a stronger and more durable immune response, but it does not reach the main serotypes. It (the vaccine) only reaches 10 or 13,” he said.

The specialist adds that the 23-valent lasts five years – with the need for a booster dose. Whereas the 13-valent conjugate can last for decades. The immunologist’s recommendation for risk groups is to take the conjugate dose first and after six months to apply the 23-valent dose.

In the SUS, pneumococcal vaccines are part of the PNI (National Vaccination Program), indicated for the elderly population in cases of very high risk. In State, the vaccine distributed by the Ministry of Health is available in the CRIE (Reference Centers for Specialized Immunobiology) for these audiences,

The 13 conjugate vaccine is available in pharmacies. The price varies, but most are between R$300 and R$450.
The orientation of the doctors is for the patient to check the quality, the brand of the vaccine and to take their vaccination record, while the pharmacy must offer the declaration of pharmaceutical service, proving that it has been applied.

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