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The current carriage study was set up to reinforce surveillance during/after the PCV13-to-PCVC10 switch in Belgium.


This observational study monitored carriage of (Sp) serotypes, particularly those no longer covered (3, 6A, 19A), as well as (Hi), because PCV10 contains the non-typeable Hi protein D.


A total of 2,615 nasopharyngeal swabs from children (6–30 months old) attending day care were collected in three periods over 2016–2018. Children’s demographic and clinical characteristics and vaccination status were obtained through a questionnaire. Sp and Hi were identified by culture and PCR. Pneumococcal strains were tested for antimicrobial (non-)susceptibility by disc diffusion and serotyped by Quellung-reaction (Quellung-reaction and PCR for serotypes 3, 6A, 19A).


The carriage prevalence of Sp (> 75%) remained stable over the successive periods but that of Hi increased (87.4%, 664 Hi-carriers/760 in 2016 vs 93.9%, 895/953 in 2017–2018). The proportion of non-PCV13 vaccine serotypes decreased (94.6%, 438 isolates/463 in 2016 vs 89.7%, 599/668 in 2017–2018) while that of PCV13-non-PCV10 vaccine serotypes (3 + 6A + 19A) increased (0.9%, 4 isolates/463 in 2016 vs 7.8%, 52/668 in 2017–2018), with serotype 19A most frequently identified (87.9%, 58/66 isolates). Non-susceptibility of pneumococci against any of the tested antibiotics was stable over the study period (> 44%).


During and after the PCV13-to-PCV10 vaccine switch, the proportion of non-PCV13 serotypes decreased, mainly due to a serotype 19A carriage prevalence increase. These results complement invasive pneumococcal disease surveillance data, providing further basis for pneumococcal vaccination programme policy making.


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