Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine: change to the supply route from June 2021 letter

Published 30 April 2021

NHS England - NHS improvement Regional Directors

NHS England - NHS improvement Directors of Commissioning

NHS England - NHS improvement Directors of Public Health and Primary Care

NHS England - NHS improvement Heads of Public Health Commissioning

NHS England - NHS improvement Heads of Primary Care

NHS England - NHS improvement / Public Health England Screening and Immunisation Leads

Clinical Commissioning Groups Clinical Leaders

Clinical Commissioning Groups Accountable Officers

General Practitioners

Local Medical Committees

Local Authority Chief Executives

Local Authority Directors of Public Health

For information:

Chief Pharmacists of NHS Trusts

NHS Foundation Trusts

NHS Trusts

30 April 2021

Change to the supply route of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (Pneumovax®23), vaccine for the national immunisation programme

Dear Colleague,

This letter provides information about the change to the supply route of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPV) for use in the NHS pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination programme from 1 June 2021.

In line with other national immunisation programmes, PHE will supply this vaccine for the routine immunisation programme and immunisation of those with underlying medical conditions from 1 June 2021, rather than providers locally procuring the vaccine.

Vaccine ordering

From 1 June, the vaccine will be available to order from PHE’s ImmForm website. Please ensure you have an account to enable access. Details of ordering controls will be made available on ImmForm news item and Vaccine Update in due course. See the ImmForm helpsheet for information on registering for an ImmForm account.


Providers are reminded that, in line with other programmes, once they are using centrally procured vaccines, they will not be able to submit claims for vaccine reimbursement. We recognise that there may be a short period of time as you transition to the use of centrally supplied vaccine during which you may have both locally procured and centrally supplied vaccine available for use which may lead to errors in reimbursement claims. To minimise this, you are encouraged to use all locally procured vaccines prior to the 1 June 2021 or soon after. NHSEI are also working with the BSA to develop a process to support you with this transition to ensure accuracy of claims.

NHSEI are currently in discussion with the BMA with regards to the funding that will be released in terms of the personal administration fee.

Vaccine supply and implications for prioritising eligible patients

Once the change in supply route occurs in June, providers should prioritise previously un-vaccinated individuals and booster doses in the same order of priority recommended since late 2017 and set out in Annexe A:

  • unvaccinated individuals in priority groups, such as those with asplenia, dysfunction of the spleen, immunosuppression, CSF leaks and cochlear implants should be offered Pneumococcal polysaccharide 23-valent vaccine (PPV23) first. Data up to the end of March 2020 indicates that only 18% of 2 to 64-year olds becoming asplenic between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 had received PPV23
  • following vaccination of high-risk groups, providers may then offer PPV23 to previously unvaccinated individuals in moderate risk groups such as those with diabetes and chronic heart, lung, liver and kidney disease
  • once high and moderate-risk groups have been offered PPV23, individuals in lower risk groups such as those requiring boosters and healthy over 65-year olds, can then be offered PPV23. Providers may wish to offer PPV23 to healthy over 65-year olds alongside the influenza vaccine during the 2021 to 2022 flu vaccination season

Detailed clinical guidance on pneumococcal immunisation is contained in chapter 25 of Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green Book).

If you have any queries about the content of this letter please contact

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved for their continuing hard work in delivering immunisation programmes.

Yours faithfully,

Deborah Tomalin

NHS England and NHS Improvement, Director of Public Health Commissioning and Operations

Dr Mary Ramsay

Public Health England, Deputy Director for Immunisation and Countermeasures