Skip to main content

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) (23 serotypes) - Information for health professionals

On this page



Pneumococcal meningitis is a notifiable disease.

Pneumococcal disease is a respiratory infection often presenting as pneumonia or acute otitis media, which can become invasive causing bacteraemia or rarely meningitis. Pneumococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, of which there are many different serotypes, and mainly affects the very young and very old. The organism is spread by respiratory droplets and has a poorly defined incubation period which may be as short as one to three days.

Due to increased global demand, supplies of Pneumovax23 (PPV23) have been constrained since 2017. In consequence, guidance has been issued on prioritisation of the available stock, most recently in the May 2021 update on Pneumovax23 vaccine supplies.

Routine vaccination

A single dose of 0.5ml of PPV23 is routinely offered to all adults aged 65 years of age and over.

Non-routine vaccination

PPV vaccine may be required in individuals who have underlying medical conditions. Antibody levels are likely to decline rapidly in individuals with asplenia, splenic dysfunction or chronic renal disease and, therefore, re-immunisation with PPV23 is recommended every five years in these groups.

Please refer to Pneumococcal: the green book, chapter 25 - GOV.UK.

The vaccine

PPV23 contains purified capsular polysaccharide from each of 23 common capsular types of pneumococcus.

Pneumovax 23 (PPV) is an inactivated injectable vaccine in a pre-filled syringe presentation.

More information about the vaccine, including eligible groups, dosing and method of administration can be found at Pneumococcal: the green book, chapter 25 - GOV.UK.

Summary of product characteristics

The schedule guidance in the Green Book chapter 25 supersedes the SmPC.

The Complete Routine Immunisation Schedule includes information about routine and non-routine vaccinations.



Vaccination programme recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and Welsh Government policy can be found at the links below.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - GOV.UK (read JCVI publications and statements; search e.g. pneumococcal)

Welsh Health Circulars and Welsh Government letters

Update on Pneumovax23 vaccine supplies May 2021 (CEM/CMO/2021/23)

Update on Pneumovax23 vaccine supplies 2020 (CEM/CMO/2020/29)

Pneumococcal disease: guidance, data and analysis - GOV.UK


Training resources and events

Online courses and training materials about a number of vaccines and diseases can be accessed via the E-learning page.

Further immunisation training information and resources are provided on the Training Resources and Events page.


Clinical resources and information

Pneumococcal: the green book, chapter 25 - GOV.UK

PPV prioritisation quick reference guide

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine: change to the supply route from June 2021 letter - GOV.UK

Patient group directions (PGDs) and protocols

PGD templates for vaccines can be found on the Patient group directions (PGDs) and protocols page.

Further clinical resources and information


Data and surveillance