06 Jan Children in Nicaragua are the first to receive new pneumonia vaccine
Vaccines have become a common tool to prevent infections, with many deadly diseases kept under control by a programme of childhood immunisation. In developed countries, such health programmes normally include vaccination against the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia. Severe pneumococcal diseases – primarily pneumonia and meningitis – are the leading vaccine-preventable causes of death in children under five. Globally, nearly a million young children die each year from pneumococcal infection, the vast majority in developing countries. This is because poor countries have historically been unable to afford the necessary vaccines in large enough quantities to meet demand.