The pneumococcal bacteria can cause a variety of diseases including meningitis, sepsis or infection of the blood, pneumonia and ear infections. It will represent with a high fever, weakness and decreased appetite.
Meningitis is characterized by fever, headaches, vomiting and changes in consciousness state. Patients with meningitis are at risk for permanent injury to the nervous system, which might include mental retardation, seizures and deafness, and mortality. Approximately 20% of the infected children die from this disease or remain with permanent injuries.
In the past few years some of the antibiotics administered against Pneumococcal infections have lost their efficiency, hence the importance of the vaccination. Countries in which the vaccine is given properly have reported a significant decrease in morbidity and mortality from this disease, including among adults who are not vaccinated, due to the general decrease of the bacteria and its effect.
The vaccine given in Nepal is called PCV10, and is a inactivated vaccine (meaning: contains killed bacteria) that includes 10 different types of pneumococcal bacteria. The vaccine does not give protection from all types of bacteria, but it covers the main subtypes that cause severe forms of the diseases described earlier.
After administration of the vaccine there could be some local adverse effects that include redness, pain and swollen of the injectable area, could be accompanied with fever.
The vaccine was introduced in Nepal at 2015, and since then it is estimated by the WHO that there is a 45% coverage. It is given at the ages of 6 and 10 weeks, and 9 months, as part of the National childhood immunization program.