Pharmac widens access to pneumococcal vaccine

Media release Medicines

Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac has announced today that all young tamariki will receive access to the PCV13 pneumococcal vaccine (brand name Prevenar 13) as part of the childhood immunisation programme, instead of the currently funded PCV10 vaccine (brand name Synflorix). PCV13 vaccine is currently only funded for high-risk individuals.

“After reviewing the changing epidemiology of pneumococcal disease, our clinical advisors recommended [PDF, 160 KB] we widen access to PCV13 vaccine,” says Pharmac’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Hughes.

“We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback in response to our consultation and are pleased to confirm our agreement with the supplier, Pfizer, to widen access to the PCV13 vaccine. We are glad that we’ve been able to respond to the emerging evidence to address the changing health need.”

The decision includes infants who have not yet received all three scheduled pneumococcal vaccine doses. Infants who have received some doses of PCV10 can complete the course with PCV13.  

“Consultation responses asked us to do more to improve health outcomes in this space, so we are seeking further advice from our clinical advisors about catch-up doses for older children and whether the high-risk programme should also include Māori and Pacific children. When the clinical advice is finalised, we will consider any new recommended options for future funding as soon as we can,” says Dr Hughes.

Pharmac will work with Te Whatu Ora on the National Immunisation Programme to support the implementation of this decision, and the Ministry of Health will update the Immunisation Handbook(external link) to reflect the changes.

Widened access to the PCV13 vaccine will commence on 1 December 2022.