Estimated impact of revising the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine schedule from 2+1 to 1+1 in England and Wales: A modelling study

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Background: In October 2017, the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended removal of one primary dose of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) from the existing 2+1 schedule (2, 4, 12 months). We conducted a mathematical modelling study to investigate the potential impact of a 1+1 (3, 12 month) schedule on invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Our results and those from a 1+1 immunogenicity study formed the key evidence reviewed by JCVI. Methods and findings: We developed age-structured, dynamic, deterministic models of pneumococcal transmission in England and Wales to describe the impact on IPD of 7-valent PCV (PCV7; introduced in 2006) and PCV13 (introduced in 2010). Key transmission and vaccine parameters were estimated by fitting to carriage data from 2001/2002 and post-PCV IPD data to 2015, using vaccine coverage, mixing patterns between ages, and population data. We considered various models to investigate potential reasons for the rapid increase in non-PCV13 (non-vaccine serotype [NVT]) IPD cases since 2014. After searching a large parameter space, 500 parameter sets were identified with a likelihood statistically close to the maximum and these used to predict future cases (median, prediction range from 500 parameter sets). Our findings indicated that the emergence of individual NVTs with higher virulence resulting from ongoing replacement was likely responsible; the NVT increase was predicted to plateau from 2020. Long-term simulation results suggest that changing to a 1+1 schedule would have little overall impact, as the small increase in vaccine-type IPD would be offset by a reduction in NVT IPD. Our results were robust to changes in vaccine assumptions in a sensitivity analysis. Under the base case scenario, a change to a 1+1 schedule in 2018 was predicted to produce 31 (6, 76) additional IPD cases over five years and 83 (−10, 242) additional pneumococcal-CAP cases, with together 8 (−2, 24) additional deaths, none in children under 15 years. Long-term continuation with the 2+1 schedule, or changing to a 1+1, was predicted to sustain current reductions in IPD cases in under-64-year-olds, but cases in 65+-year-olds would continue to increase because of the effects of an aging population. Limitations of our model include difficulty in fitting to past trends in NVT IPD in some age groups and inherent uncertainty about future NVT behaviour, sparse data for defining the mixing matrix in 65+-year-olds, and the methodological challenge of defining uncertainty on predictions. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that, with the current mature status of the PCV programme in England and Wales, removing one primary dose in the first year of life would have little impact on IPD or pneumococcal CAP cases or associated deaths at any age. A reduction in the number of priming doses would improve programmatic efficiency and facilitate the introduction of new vaccines by reducing the number of coadministered vaccines given at 2 and 4 months of age in the current UK schedule. Our findings should not be applied to other settings with different pneumococcal epidemiology or with immature programmes and poor herd immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1002845
JournalPLoS Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


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