Pneumovax®23 is recommended for people most at risk from invasive pneumococcal disease, for example those who have had their spleen removed or who are on immunosuppressive therapy but are able to mount a sufficient immune response to the vaccine. The vaccine is funded for children from 2 years of age and adults with a medical condition that increases their risk of invasive pneumococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.
The vaccine is designed to protect people from severe forms of the disease e.g. bacteraemia (blood infection) and meningitis.
Pneumovax®23 vaccine is not part of the routine immunisation schedule but is funded for children and adults with a medical condition that increases their risk of invasive pneumococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. The vaccine is available for purchase by people with a medical condition that is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule.
Pneumovax23 is recommended and funded as follows:
Up to two doses (as appropriate) for high-risk children aged 2 years to under 18 years, or up to three doses (as appropriate) for individuals aged 18 years or older in the following groups:
N.B. Pneumovax23 should be administered at least 8 weeks after Prevenar13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) is also funded for these groups.
Children from 2 years of age and adults can catch up missed doses of this vaccine.
No special considerations, store as per cold chain between 2°C to 8°C.
Pneumovax23 can be administered concurrently with all other vaccines except other pneumococcal vaccines e.g. Prevenar 13, Synflorix. Separate syringes and different injection sites should be used.
If re-immunisation is required a minimum of 5 years should be maintained between doses, to reduce the incidence of hyporesponsiveness to vaccine pneumococcal serotypes. A maximum of 3 doses are recommended in an adult lifetime.
Pneumovax23 vaccination is T-cell independent and does not result in long lasting memory.
Adults respond better to Pneumovax23 than children. In adults antibodies decline 5–10 years after vaccination, this waning of immunity may faster in adults older than 60 years. The antibodies last around 3–5 years in children.
For some patients who are receiving immunosuppressive therapy and the elderly, antibody responses may not sufficient to protect against pneumococcal infection and impairment of future immune responses to pneumococcal antigens may occur. It is therefore recommended that high risk patients are vaccinated with Prevenar 13 at least 8 weeks prior to Pneumovax23 or Prevenar 13 is delayed for a year after Pneumovax23.