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The Department is aware that there is currently limited availability of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV23), due to manufacturing capacity constraints. Further deliveries of the vaccines are due at the end of February 2020.
Public Health England has issued comprehensive guidance to the National Health Service that provides information to clinicians on the management of potentially affected patients during this time of limited availability. General practices have been advised to prioritise PPV23 vaccinations based on clinical risk and to plan vaccinations to ensure demand is more consistent across the year.
On the 6 November 2019, PPV23 was added to the list of medicines that cannot be parallel exported, further protecting United Kingdom supplies and vaccine availability.
The vaccine differs from the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) vaccine used for the routine childhood programme. There is no supply issue affecting the PCV13 vaccine used in infants and toddlers—but this vaccine is not suitable for protection of older people.