Methods: Aboriginal infants (n = 425) were randomised to receive Synflorix™ (S, PHiD-CV10) or Prevenar13™ (P, PCV13) at 2, 4 and 6 months (_SSS or _PPP, respectively), or a 4-dose early mixed primary series of PHiD-CV10 at 1, 2 and 4 months and PCV13 at 6 months of age (SSSP). Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected at 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7 months of age. Swabs of ear discharge were collected from tympanic membrane perforations.
Findings: At the primary endpoint at 7 months of age, the proportion of nasopharyngeal (Np) swabs positive for PCV13-only serotypes 3, 6A, or 19A was 0%, 0.8%, and 1.5% in the _PPP, _SSS, and SSSP groups respectively, and NTHi 55%, 52%, and 52% respectively, and no statistically significant vaccine group differences in other otopathogens at any age. The most common serotypes (in order) were 16F, 11A, 10A, 7B, 15A, 6C, 35B, 23B, 13, and 15B, accounting for 65% of carriage. Ear discharge swabs (n = 108) were culture positive for NTHi (52%), S. aureus (32%), and pneumococcus (20%).
Conclusions: Aboriginal infants experience nasopharyngeal colonisation and tympanic membrane perforations associated with NTHi, non-PCV13 pneumococcal serotypes and S. aureus in the first months of life. Nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococcus or NTHi was not significantly reduced in the early 4-dose combined SSSP group compared to standard _PPP or _SSS schedules at any time point. Current pneumococcal conjugate vaccine formulations do not offer protection from early onset NTHi and pneumococcal colonisation in this high-risk population.