Influenza vaccine uptake in primary school children

Public Health England) has published Seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in children of primary school age: winter season 2016 to 2017 End of season report.

This document reports on the cumulative uptake of influenza vaccine during the 2016 to 2017 season for children of school years 1 and 2 age across England; and children of school years 1 to 6 ages in selected pilot areas.


Hepatitis B vaccine to be added to childhood immunisation schedule

All babies born from the 1st of August in the UK will receive the hepatitis B vaccine as part of their routine immunisation schedule. The vaccine will be added to the 5-in-1 vaccine that is already given to protect from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib | OnMedica


The move brings the UK into line with other countries which began to offer the vaccine after the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended in 1992 that babies should be immunised against the virus.

It is hoped that offering the hexavalent vaccine will drive down viral infections that cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. In children, the virus can linger for years causing serious liver damage.

Sema Mandal, a consultant in immunisation, hepatitis and blood safety at Public Health England (PHE), told The Guardian that the vaccine had been used widely and safely for many years, with about 150 million doses given to children since 2000.

Read the full overview here


Parents’ and informal caregivers’ views and experiences of communication about routine childhood vaccination.

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews has published ‘Parents’ and informal caregivers’ views and experiences of communication about routine childhood vaccination: a synthesis of qualitative evidence’.

Cochrane Library
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Childhood vaccination is an effective way to prevent serious childhood illnesses, but many children do not receive all the recommended vaccines. There are various reasons for this; some parents lack access because of poor quality health services, long distances or lack of money. Other parents may not trust vaccines or the healthcare workers who provide them, or they may not see the need for vaccination due to a lack of information or misinformation about how vaccinations work and the diseases they can prevent.

Communication with parents about childhood vaccinations is one way of addressing these issues. Communication can take place at healthcare facilities, at home or in the community. Communication can be two-way, for example face-to-face discussions between parents and healthcare providers, or one-way, for instance via text messages, posters or radio programmes.

Some types of communication enable parents to actively discuss vaccines and their benefits and harms, as well as diseases they can prevent. Other communication types simply give information about vaccination issues or when and where vaccines are available. People involved in vaccine programmes need to understand how parents experience different types of communication about vaccination and how this influences their decision to vaccinate.

The study showed high or moderate confidence in the evidence contributing to several review findings. Further research, especially in rural and low- to middle-income country settings, could strengthen evidence for the findings where the researchers had low or very low confidence. Planners should consider the timing for making vaccination information available to parents, the settings where information is available, the provision of impartial and clear information tailored to parental needs, and parents’ perceptions of health workers and the information provided.

Read more here

Record numbers of NHS frontline staff have had flu jab this winter

Record numbers of NHS staff have had their flu jab this winter, official figures from Public Health England (PHE) show | OnMedica


Some 594,700 (61.8%) frontline NHS staff across England were vaccinated against flu between 1 September and 31 December last year. That figure is expected to increase in January and February.

The highest level achieved by the end of February in previous winters was 541,757 (just under 55%) in 2014-15.

PHE does not have recorded numbers of deaths from flu. But it is estimated that, in 2015-16, there were about 2,300 excess deaths over the winter linked to the time of year. Flu and extreme cold weather are the two most likely causes.

Read the news story here

JCVI statement on the nasal spray flu vaccine

Department of Health | First published: 26 August 2016

Using the nasal spray flu vaccine for the UK childhood influenza immunisation programme: advice from JCVI

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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed updated data from the 2015 to 2016 season in the UK and other countries on the effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine, in light of emerging evidence of low effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine reported in the United States (US).

This statement sets out the committee’s advice for continuation of the childhood influenza immunisation programme in using the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV, the nasal spray vaccine).

Read the full statement here

Interventions for improving coverage of childhood immunisation in low- and middle-income countries

The Cochrane Library has published ‘Interventions for improving coverage of childhood immunisation in low- and middle-income countries’.

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Immunisation is a powerful public health strategy for improving child survival, not only by directly combating key diseases that kill children but also by providing a platform for other health services. However, each year millions of children worldwide, mostly from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), do not receive the full series of vaccines on their national routine immunisation schedule. This is an update of the Cochrane review published in 2011 and focuses on interventions for improving childhood immunisation coverage in LMICs.

The Authors concluded that providing parents and other community members with information on immunisation, health education at facilities in combination with redesigned immunisation reminder cards, regular immunisation outreach with and without household incentives, home visits, and integration of immunisation with other services may improve childhood immunisation coverage in LMIC. Most of the evidence was of low certainty, which implies a high likelihood that the true effect of the interventions will be substantially different. There is thus a need for further well-conducted RCTs to assess the effects of interventions for improving childhood immunisation coverage in LMICs.

Read more here