Coronavirus and Pneumococcal Diseases: Vaccination

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of James Davies James Davies Conservative, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the (a) effectiveness of protection conferred by pneumococcal vaccination in reducing deaths of people who have tested positive for covid-19 and (b) current level of take-up of pneumococcal vaccination among groups eligible for that vaccination; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for that vaccination during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

There were large reductions in pneumococcal disease since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most likely because of the lockdown measures that were implemented nationally. Co-infections of SARS-CoV-2 and pneumococcal disease occur very rarely. The number of pneumococcal infections and more so deaths due to pneumococcal disease in people with COVID-19 has been low. As such, it is not possible to assess the effectiveness of protection conferred by pneumococcal vaccination in reducing deaths of people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The most recently published pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) coverage data are for the year 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. PPV coverage was 69.0% in all patients aged 65 years and over, immunised at any time up to 31 March 2020 in England, rising to 82.4% for those aged 75 years and over. The proportion immunised in the last 12 months for these two age groups was 3.8% and 1.4% respectively.

These data are available to view here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pneumococcal-polysaccharide-vaccine-ppv-vaccine-coverage-estimates

As the supply of the PPV23 vaccine is limited due to high demand, the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation is not currently planning to undertake an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for the vaccine. Public Health England has issued comprehensive clinical guidance on how to prioritise those who should receive this vaccine.

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