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Meningitis: Vaccination

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the take-up rate of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine Prevenar has been since 4 September 2006; (155841)

(2) what studies have been commissioned into the effectiveness of Prevenar since 4 September 2006.

Data on the pneumococcal vaccine uptake for children are currently being collected on behalf of the Department by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), and no robust analysis is available yet. Preliminary data from just over half of primary care trusts in England suggested that over 60 per cent. of children targeted in the catch-up campaign had received the vaccine. We do not yet know the level of uptake of the vaccine given as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme.

The impact of the vaccine has been very significant, with the number of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in children, caused by any one of the seven serotypes contained in the vaccine, falling since the introduction of the new vaccine a year ago. The latest data are available on the HPA website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/infections/topics_az/pneumococcal/default.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department has taken to increase awareness of the Prevenar vaccine. (155843)

A public awareness campaign ran in September 2006 in support of the introduction of the pneumococcal vaccine. The new vaccine was publicised through television, radio and press advertising and an information pack was available for parents and health professionals.

There is a section on the immunisation.nhs.uk website about pneumococcal vaccines, and a leaflet on the pneumococcal catch-up programme has been placed in the Library and is available at:

www.immunisation.nhs.uk/files/275877_Catch-upleaflet.pdf

The pneumococcal vaccine is now part of the routine immunisation programme and is described in the Guide to childhood immunisations leaflet, available from general practitioner surgeries. Information and advice is also offered on this and other vaccines by health professionals before immunisations are given.