Objective: To describe the epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), and the impact of pneumococcal vaccines on IPD, in Indigenous people in north Queensland.
Setting: North Queensland, 1999–2004; there are about 53 750 Indigenous people in the region, including nearly 6900 children < 5 years and nearly 5650 adults ≥ 50 years.
Main outcome measures: Incidences of IPD in Indigenous children and in Indigenous adults compared between the 3 years before and after the introduction of a 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7vPCV) (1999–2001 versus 2002–2004).
Results: Estimated annual incidence of IPD in Indigenous children < 5 years of age declined from 170 to 78 cases per 100 000 in the 3 years following the introduction of 7vPCV in 2001. The annual incidence of vaccine-preventable IPD in Indigenous adults had declined by 86% since a 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) was introduced to the region in 1996, to 15 cases per 100 000 (95% CI, 8–25) in 2002–2004.
Conclusion: Although there was a rapid decline in IPD in young Indigenous children, it is unlikely that the incidence will fall much further with the current 7-valent vaccine. There was a suggestion that vaccinating Indigenous children indirectly protected those aged 5–14 years and Indigenous adults ≥15 years of age. Incidence of IPD in Indigenous adults in 2002–2004 was the lowest on record in the region.
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