The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed last April that it would make the changes, which mean babies will now be offered the vaccine at three months and a booster at one year. Previously, they were offered three vaccines – at two months, four months, and a booster at a year
This vaccine (known as “PCV13”) helps to protect against 13 different types of pneumococcal bacteria and has been offered to all babies as part of their routine schedule since 2006. A different vaccine called the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is offered to adults around the age of 65 years. There is no change to this vaccine.
You can read more about the changes and about pneumococcal disease on a blog we wrote when the changes were first announced - you can read it here.
As we said at the time of the original announcement, we will continue to monitor these changes and raise any concerns we may have about it with the Department of Health. The change to the schedule has been made because the pneumococcal vaccine has been so successful and there is now very little of the disease caused by the strains seen in the UK. But there remains a possibility that this change will lead to a small increase in the number of cases.
As always, irrespective of the changes being made to the pneumococcal vaccine programme, we urge everyone to know the signs and symptoms of the disease and to seek urgent medical help if you think you or someone you know may have meningitis.