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There are concerns that pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) in sub-Saharan Africa sub-optimally interrupt Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine-serotype (VT) carriage and transmission. Here we assess PCV carriage using rolling, prospective nasopharyngeal carriage surveys between 2015 and 2018, 3.6-7.1 years after Malawi's 2011 PCV13 introduction. Carriage decay rate is analysed using non-linear regression. Despite evidence of reduction in VT carriage over the study period, there is high persistent residual carriage. This includes among PCV-vaccinated children 3-5-year-old (16.1% relative reduction from 19.9% to 16.7%); PCV-unvaccinated children 6-8-year-old (40.5% reduction from 26.4% to 15.7%); HIV-infected adults 18-40-years-old on antiretroviral therapy (41.4% reduction from 15.2% to 8.9%). VT carriage prevalence half-life is similar among PCV-vaccinated and PCV-unvaccinated children (3.26 and 3.34 years, respectively). Compared with high-income settings, there is high residual VT carriage 3.6-7.1 years after PCV introduction. Rigorous evaluation of strategies to augment vaccine-induced control of carriage, including alternative schedules and catch-up campaigns, is required.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Cross-Sectional Studies, Demography, Female, HIV Infections, Humans, Infant, Malawi, Male, Nasopharynx, Pneumococcal Vaccines, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Serogroup, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Time Factors, Vaccination, Vaccines, Conjugate