Beginning in 2000, doctors began distributing a new vaccine to children. Researchers found that between 1998 and 2002 annual incidence rates for invasive pneumococcal disease (pneumonia or meningitis) decreased among both blacks and whites. In 2002, 14,730 fewer cases occurred among whites and 8,780 fewer cases occurred among blacks compared with the average number in two prevaccine years, 1998 and 1999. Before the introduction of the vaccine, incidence among blacks was nearly three-times higher than among whites.
Widespread distribution of a vaccine has reduced the incidence of childhood pneumonia and meningitis and has helped decrease the racial unevenness of the diseases, according to a government report.The vaccine, called 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, also caused the rates to drop in children under 2.
Researchers conclude saying that while the cause of excess pneumococcal disease burden observed in black Americans remains unclear, the use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is clearly an important tool for reducing this excess risk and they say that everyone should be encouraged to get a vaccination regardless of their background .