Pneumococcal vaccination in adult solid organ transplant recipients: A review of current evidence

Claire Dendle, Rhonda L. Stuart, William R. Mulley, Stephen R. Holdsworth

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25 Citations (Scopus)


This narrative review summarizes the current literature relating to pneumococcal vaccination in adult solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients, who are at risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) with its attendant high morbidity and mortality. The effect of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine has been examined in several small cohort studies in SOT recipients, most of which were kidney transplant recipients. The outcomes for these studies have been laboratory seroresponses or functional antibody titers. Overall, in most of these studies the transplant recipients were capable of generating measurable serological responses to pneumococcal vaccination but these responses were less than those of healthy controls. A mathematical model estimated the effectiveness of polysaccharide vaccination in SOT recipients to be one third less than those of patients with HIV. The evidence for the efficacy of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in SOT is based on a small number of randomized controlled trials in liver and kidney transplant recipients. These trials demonstrated that SOT recipients mounted a serological response following vaccination however there was no benefit to the use of prime boosting (conjugate vaccine followed by polysaccharide vaccine). Currently there are no randomized studies investigating the clinical protection rate against IPD after pneumococcal vaccination by either vaccine type or linked to vaccine titers or other responses against pneumococcus. Concerns that vaccination may increase the risk of adverse alloresponses such as rejection and generation of donor specific antibodies are not supported by studies examining this aspect of vaccine safety. Pneumococcal vaccination is a potentially important strategy to reduce IPD in SOT recipients and is associated with excellent safety. Current international recommendations are based on expert opinion from conflicting data, hence there is a clear need for further high-quality studies in this high-risk population examining optimal vaccination regimens. Such studies should focus on strategies to optimize functional immune responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6253-6261
Number of pages9
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2018


  • 13-valent
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Prevenar
  • Transplantation

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