New pneumococcal vaccine changes

by | Immunity

From 1 July 2020, there are changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) which affect pneumococcal, meningococcal and hepatitis A vaccination.

The changes to pneumococcal immunisation are as follows:

Non-Indigenous Australians

  • The vaccine funded for older non-Indigenous Australians on the National Immunisation Program will be 13vPCV (Prevenar 13), instead of 23vPPV (Pneumovax 23).
  • The age for immunising older Australians has been raised from 65 years and over to 70 years and over.
  • All non-Indigenous adults who don’t have a medically at-risk condition for pneumococcal disease who turn 70 after 1 July 2020 should have one dose of Prevenar 13, even if they have previously had Pneumovax 23.
  • All non-Indigenous adults who are already over 70 on 1 July 2020 are also eligible for a single funded dose of Prevenar 13.

Indigenous Australians

  • For Indigenous Australians, pneumococcal immunisation is NIP funded at age 50 years plus. This encompasses 1 dose of 13vPCV and 2 subsequent doses of 23vPPV.
  • Young Indigenous children in NT, Qld, SA, and WA – in addition to the 4 doses of 13vPCV they already receive, should also now be given 2 NIP-funded doses of 23vPPV pneumococcal vaccine.

Medically at-risk groups

People with certain medical risks/conditions are now eligible for NIP-funded pneumococcal vaccine – one dose of 13vPCV at diagnosis and 2 doses of 23vPPV later. These conditions are:

  • Functional or anatomical asplenia
  • Pneumococcal at risk medical conditions (Some are NIP-funded – the list has been revised and simplified to a new single list of conditions – See Table 1 of the Clinical decision tree for vaccination providers for the Updated list of conditions with eligibility for funding).

This table summarises the changes

Pneumococcal vaccines: summary of changes 1 July 2020
Vaccine Non-indigenous older adults Medically at risk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Prevenar 13 (13vPCV)
  • Vaccinate at 70 years, not 65 years
  • Use Prevenar instead of Pneumovax
  • Give Prevenar at 70 years, even if had Pneumovax previously
  • Already over 70 – eligible for funded dose of Prevenar
  • Age 50 or over: NIP-funded – one dose Prevenar + 2 subsequent doses Pneumovax
  • Young indigenous children (NT, Qld, SA and WA): add on 2 NIP-funded doses of Pneumovax to the 4-dose Prevenar schedule they already receive
Pneumovax (23vPPV) No longer recommended has a lot more information for your patients on immunisation – on childhood immunisations, on immunisation for older Australians, and on all the individual vaccine-preventable diseases, such as pneumococcal disease.

More information for Health Professionals

NSW Immunisation Schedule changes – 1 July 2020 – Health professional FAQs

Clinical update: National Immunisation Program (NIP) changes form 1 July 2020 – advice for immunisation providers:

National Immunisation Program Schedule: