Two new standard vaccines for infants and young children: pneumococci and meningococci

The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute has updated its vaccination recommendations and published them in Epidemiological Bulletin 30/2006. The main changes concern pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccinations, which are now recommended as the standard vaccine for all infants. Pneumococci can cause localized infections such as middle ear, sinus or lung infections. Particularly infectious for infants and toddlers are invasive infections when the pathogen infects other organs via the blood or causes meningitis (meningitis). The incidence is strongly age-related and peaks in the first two years of life and in the elderly (therefore, the STIKO has been recommending a pneumococcal vaccine with a so-called polysaccharide vaccine for all those over 60 years).

Pneumococcal disease in children

In children under the age of five, there are approximately 970 invasive pneumococcal diseases per year, of which 680 are caused by the variants in the vaccine. The STIKO recommends a conjugate vaccine for pneumococcal protection of children under the age of two that provides longer-lasting protection. For full vaccination coverage, four vaccinations are contemporaneous with the other recommended infants by the age of 11 to 14 months.

Meningococcal vaccine for toddlers

Meningococci (Neisseria meningitidis) can cause sepsis or meningitis, sometimes leading to death within a few hours. About 700 invasive meningococcal diseases are reported annually to the RKI, of which about 175 are caused by the type of vaccine against which the vaccine is targeted (serogroup C). The vaccine is recommended at a dose from the age of 12 months.

So far, meningococcal vaccine has only been recommended for certain pre-existing conditions. Other recommendations include for travelers in epidemic / hyperemic countries, especially in close contact with the native population, development workers, endangered laboratory personnel, students in long-term stays in countries with recommended general vaccination for adolescents or selective vaccination for students.

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