Continuing Medical Education

Use of vaccines as a key antimicrobial stewardship strategy

A J Brink, G A Richards


Vaccination may prevent bacterial infections and decrease the potential for transmission. Some effective vaccines may reduce bacterial
colonisation and exposure to antimicrobials by minimising the spread of resistant strains; in this regard, a substantial indirect immunity has
been demonstrated that protects unvaccinated members of society. One of the best documented examples of the crucial role of vaccination
has been an adjunct to an antimicrobial stewardship programme. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs), for example, target the most
virulent pneumococcal serotypes, which are linked to invasive disease and associated with antibiotic resistance. In this regard, recent local
data highlight the remarkable impact of the sequential introduction of 7- and 13-valent PCV (PCV7/PCV13) on the incidence of penicillin-,
ceftriaxone- and multidrug-resistant pneumococcal infections in South Africa in only 4 years. Equally impressive have been vaccines
directed towards viruses such as influenza, which also have direct and indirect effects on antibiotic consumption.

Authors' affiliations

A J Brink, Department of Clinical Microbiology, Ampath National Laboratory Services, Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

G A Richards, Division of Critical Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Vaccines; Antimicrobial stewardship

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(5):421. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.9651

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-09-18
Date published: 2015-09-18

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