About Pneumococcal Disease

Catch Them. You Can.

About pneumococcal disease

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine)
Prescribing Information [External link]

Pneumococcal disease poses a burden to the community all year round1

Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacterium (pneumococcus)2,3 – 23 serotypes of which account for 80-90% of invasive pneumococcal disease worldwide.4

This bacterium is commonly found in the nose and throat of healthy individuals and can be spread through direct contact, respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or transmitted by aerosol.3

At risk individuals are at increased risk of pneumococcal disease all year round, not only during winter, unlike seasonal influenza.1

Pneumococcal infection can lead to various illnesses, ranging from:2

Mild and non-invasive

e.g. otitis media (middle-ear infection)


Invasive and severe

Occur inside major organs/the blood – e.g. pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis

Pneumonia is a leading cause of death in the UK5

More than 19,500

people die from pneumonia in the UK every year5

Approximately 40,000

people a year are hospitalised with pneumococcal pneumonia in the UK6

Who is at risk?

Pneumococcal disease affects people of all ages, all year round, but certain groups are more susceptible to infection, including:2

Older adults (aged ≥65)

Patients with certain health conditions (e.g. diabetes and COPD)

Your patients may be eligible for vaccination against pneumococcal disease as part of the NHS National Immunisation Programme3


Non invasive pneumococcal infections usually go away with minimal intervention – mainly rest, fluids and over-the-counter medicines.2

More invasive types often require antibiotics and additional intervention, including hospitalisation.2

COPD = chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


  1. Torres , et al. Thorax 2015;70(10):984-989.
  2. NHS Inform. Pneumococcal infections. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/pneumococcal-infections.
  3. The Green Book – Immunisation against infectious disease (January 2020). Chapter 25 – Pneumococcal. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/857267/GB_Chapter_25_pneumococcal_January_2020.pdf.
  4. Wantuch PL, Avci FY. Hum Vaccine Immunother. 2018;14(9):2303-2309.
  5. Office for National Statistics. Leading causes of death, UK: 2001 to 2018. Available at: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/causesofdeath/articles/leadingcaus esofdeathuk/2001to2018.
  6. Oxford Vaccine Group. Vaccine Knowledge Project. Pneumococcal disease. Available at: https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/pneumococcal-disease#Key-disease-facts.

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Supporting documentation

PNEUMOVAX® 23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine)
Prescribing Information

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