Panel 6: Vaccines

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To review the literature on progress regarding (1) effectiveness of vaccines for prevention of otitis media (OM) and (2) development of vaccine antigens for OM bacterial and viral pathogens.

Data Sources

PubMed database of the National Library of Science.

Review Methods

We performed literature searches in PubMed for OM pathogens and candidate vaccine antigens, and we restricted the searches to articles in English that were published between July 2011 and June 2015. Panel members reviewed literature in their area of expertise.


Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) are somewhat effective for the prevention of pneumococcal OM, recurrent OM, OM visits, and tympanostomy tube insertions. Widespread use of PCVs has been associated with shifts in pneumococcal serotypes and bacterial pathogens associated with OM, diminishing PCV effectiveness against AOM. The 10-valent pneumococcal vaccine containing Haemophilus influenzae protein D (PHiD-CV) is effective for pneumococcal OM, but results from studies describing the potential impact on OM due to H influenzae have been inconsistent. Progress in vaccine development for H influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and OM-associated respiratory viruses has been limited. Additional research is needed to extend vaccine protection to additional pneumococcal serotypes and other otopathogens. There are likely to be licensure challenges for protein-based vaccines, and data on correlates of protection for OM vaccine antigens are urgently needed.

Implications for Practice

OM continues to be a significant health care burden globally. Prevention is preferable to treatment, and vaccine development remains an important goal. As a polymicrobial disease, OM poses significant but not insurmountable challenges for vaccine development.

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