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17-03-2011 | General practice | Article

JCVI moves to scrap PPV in elderly


Department of Health – JCVI advice

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) is advising the Department of Health to drop the pneumococcal vaccination programme for over-65s.

The advice comes after a review showed that the single-dose pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) provides poor protection and is not long-lasting in those aged 65 years or older.

The review of cumulative data from 1996-2010 also found that the programme has failed to reduce the incidence of pneumococcal disease in older people since it was introduced in 2003.

The programme was established to try to reduce the high burden of pneumococcal disease in elderly people, although the effectiveness of the PPV remained uncertain at the time.

In a letter to policy directors and primary care leads, Director of Immunisation Professor David Salisbury advised that PPV will continue to be offered to younger people with clinical risk factors as the evidence for a benefit is more robust in these groups.

He added that "clinical judgements should be made on whether to vaccinate older patients taking into account patient age and severity of underlying health conditions".

GP News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Caroline Price