Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine uptake in England, 1989-2003, prior to the introduction of a vaccination programme for older adults

Karen Noakes, Richard Pebody*, Usha Gungabissoon, Julia Stowe, Elizbeth Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Following the licensure of 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) in 1989, a risk-group-only immunization policy was implemented in 1992 in England. The PPV programme was extended in 2003 to include all individuals 65 years and over. In England, this was phased in over 3 years. To ascertain the performance of the risk group policy in those 65 years of age and over and provide a baseline to estimate the impact of the universal elderly programme. Methods: Information was gathered on vaccine uptake for the period 1989-2003 in England from a national survey of general practitioners (GPs) through NHS primary care trusts (PCTs), the prescription cost analysis (PCA) system and the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). Results: Between 1991 and 2003, 4.5 million doses of PPV were prescribed. The GP survey found that by 2003, 29% of those 65 years and over of age and 36% of those 80 years of age over had received PPV. Sixty-two per cent of general practices had implemented a risk-group-only policy, 14.4% had targeted all those 65 years of age over and 14.2% had targeted all those 75 years of age over. The GPRD study found that 38% of those 65 years over and 41% of those 80 years over fell into one or more high-risk groups. By 2003, 36.6% of the high-risk group and 30.2% of all those 65 years over had ever been vaccinated. Vaccine uptake increased with age, with 52.3% of the high-risk group and 37% of all those 80 years over having ever been vaccinated. Conclusions: A large proportion of those in risk groups remained unvaccinated with PPV in 2003. Formal evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of the universal elderly immunization programme will be required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-247
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • Coverage
  • Elderly
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine


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