Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) places a considerable burden on society. A substantial number of pediatric and adult CAP cases are due to Streptococcus pneumoniae,
but fortunately there are effective vaccines available that have a significant impact on CAP-related medical, social, and economic problems. The main aim of this paper is to evaluate the published evidence concerning the impact of pneumococcal vaccines on the prevention of CAP in children and adults. Available data indicate that pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) are effective in children, reducing all-cause CAP cases and bacteremic and nonbacteremic CAP cases. Moreover, at least for PCV7 and PCV13, vaccination of children is effective in reducing the incidence of CAP among adults. Recently use of PCV13 in adults alone or in combination with the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine has been suggested and further studies can better define its effectiveness in this group of subjects. The only relevant problem for PCV13 is the risk of a second replacement phenomenon, which might significantly reduce its real efficacy in clinical practice. Protein-based pneumococcal vaccines might be a possible solution to this problem.
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