The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) concluded that the protection provided by the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) is ‘not long-lasting in older people’.
In its review of the evidence, the committee said the programme has had ‘no discernable impact on the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in older people’.
It advised there is little benefit to continuing the programme and that it should be stopped.
The conclusion was revealed in a letter from DoH director of immunisation Professor David Salisbury.
The DoH will now consult with professional and patient groups and the manufacturers on the idea of ending the programme for older people.
Professor Salisbury said in the meantime PPV should continue to be offered to those in clinical at-risk groups, as evidence in younger people is stronger.
‘Clinical judgements should be made on whether to vaccinate older patients taking into account patient age and severity of underlying health conditions,’ he said.