During the first two years following registration of the 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine in Belgium, the numbers of doses administered were 166 and 211 per 10,000 inhabitants, representing a vaccination coverage of nearly 20% of the recommended target population as defined by the High Council for Public Health. The time course of vaccine use showed a seasonal variation with up to 74 and 85% of the doses administered from September through November in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Vaccination practices by general practitioners and the profile of the patients who received the pneumococcal vaccine were studied during the September through December period each year. Among the 18,236 patients included, 82% were above 60 years of age (mean age 69.5 years). The main indications for vaccination were chronic bronchopulmonary disease (41%) and cardiovascular disorders (26%). Age as the sole criterion was mentioned for only 17% of vaccine recipients. Sixty percent of the patients received influenza vaccine concomitantly. The intensity of the mass media campaign correlated with the public awareness of the national recommendations. These observations provide insight into current practices for pneumococcal vaccination in Belgium and suggest opportunities for future vaccination campaigns.