Pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a leading cause of mortality. Following the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) in children, a decrease in the burden of the disease was reported. In parallel, an increase in non-vaccine serotypes was also noted. The objective of this study was to assess the current serotype-specific epidemiology of pneumococci among Italian older adults hospitalized for CAP. A prospective study was conducted between 2017 and 2020 in four Italian regions. Subjects aged ≥65 years hospitalized with confirmed CAP were tested for pneumococci using both pneumococcal urinary antigen and serotype-specific urine antigen tests able to identify all 24 serotypes included in the available vaccines. Of the 1155 CAP cases, 13.1% were positive for pneumococci. The most prevalent serotypes were 3 (2.0%), 8 (1.7%), 22F (0.8 %) and 11A (0.7%). These serotypes are all included in the newly licensed PCV20. The serotypes included in PCV13, PCV15 and PCV20 contributed to 3.3%, 4.4% and 7.5% of the CAP cases, respectively. In the context of a low PCV13 coverage among older adults and a high PCV coverage in children, a substantial proportion of CAP is caused by PCV13 serotypes. Higher valency PCV15 and PCV20 may provide additional benefits for the prevention of CAP in vaccinated older adults.
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