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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Pneumococcal Disease General Information ›  General Information on Pneumococcal Disease

General Information on Pneumococcal Disease

Approximately 5,000-6,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) are reported annually to Public Health England (PHE). There is a marked seasonal pattern with the greatest number of reports occurring in December and January each year. In addition there are an estimated 40,000 hospitalisations due to pneumococcal pneumonia, 40,000 GP consultations for pneumococcal related community acquired pneumonia and over 63,000 consultations for pneumococcal otitis media in England and Wales each year.

There are currently two licensed vaccines used in the UK; the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) and the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13).

PCV7 (7 valent PCV) was introduced into the Routine Childhood Immunisation programme for all children from two months of age in September 2006 and was then replaced in April 2010 with PCV13. It is also recommended for children under 5 years of age in a clinical risk group, See DH green book on pneumococcal disease [external link] for further details.

All those aged 65 and over are recommended to be vaccinated with PPV. PPV vaccine is also recommended for those in a risk group from 5 to 65 years of age. Health Protection Services (HPS), Colindale annually collects PPV uptake data on the 65 and over population on behalf of the Department of Health each year to estimate the impact and effectiveness of this vaccine programme. 

An Enhanced Surveillance Programme, which began in 1996, reconciles data on invasive pneumococcal isolates including serotype collected by the Respiratory & Vaccine Preventable Bacteria Reference Unit with laboratory reports to HPS, Colindale and collects detailed epidemiological follow-up information on cases of IPD in children eligible for PCV13

Last reviewed: 23 April 2013