Across Europe, vaccination against pneumococcal disease remains low. Despite clear and rigorous recommendations for children, recommendations for older adults and those living with clinical conditions are lacking – with a subsequent lack of coverage and uptake. This is despite an average of 20,353 cases and 1,041 deaths from invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) across the EU/EEA each year. The findings in this report have been taken from the Pneumococcal Vaccination Atlas; an interactive data source showcasing what pneumococcal vaccination looks like in 42 European countries.
When collating existing data for vaccination in children, at-risk groups, and older adults, we find that:
- There are disparities in pneumococcal vaccination coverage across the life course – the average coverage figures are 17.95% for people from clinical risk groups and 24.20% for older adults while coverage figures for children stand at 88.30%
- Data availability varies considerably – 98% of countries officially reported on childhood pneumococcal vaccination, while only 26% collected some form of data for people from clinical risk groups and older adults
- Recommendations differ across Europe, with clear discrepancies between Eastern and Western Europe – just 60% of countries recommend that all three groups receive the pneumococcal vaccination
- Many Europeans have to pay for pneumococcal vaccination – only 15 countries reimburse or cover the cost for all three groups through their national healthcare systems
To improve pneumococcal vaccination coverage across Europe, we recommend that:
- National governments adopt a life course approach to pneumococcal vaccination by recommending it for all three groups and adopting a national pneumococcal immunisation programme
- National immunisation programmes for pneumococcal disease should be fully funded by national healthcare systems; patients should be reimbursed for any costs.
- The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) should require all EU/EEA member countries to report on pneumococcal vaccination across different groups every year; countries that are members of the WHO/Europe region should also collect and report on this data.
This report and the Pneumococcal Vaccination Atlas have been produced in partnership with the International Longevity Centre UK and with the support of MSD.