Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, sometimes referred to as pneumococcus. Infection can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, infection of the blood, ear infections, or bacterial meningitis.
Every year, over one million children die of pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Over the past few years, some progress has been made in improving access to life-saving vaccines that prevent pneumonia, such as pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and Haemophilus Influenzae Type B-containing vaccine (Hib). However in emergency contexts – where children are the most at risk because of deteriorated living conditions – accessing the PCV vaccine is a challenge due to high prices and lengthy processes to secure adequate supplies.
MSF is scaling up its use of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and other vaccines with a particular focus on improving its work in routine immunisation, as well as extending the package of vaccines used in humanitarian emergencies. Despite the high prices and logistical difficulties, MSF has now carried out PCV vaccinations in emergency contexts in Central African Republic, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Uganda. We urgently need easier access to the pneumonia vaccine to reduce child mortality in other emergencies.
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