Immunisation Horizon Scanning Volume 7 Issue 4

October 13, 2015

Flu jab worked in one in three cases

October 13, 2015

Source: BBC News

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Date of publication: September 2015

Publication Type: News

In a nutshell: Last winter’s flu jab worked in 34% of cases, according to a final report by Public Health England. At one stage early in the season, it was estimated that the vaccine was stopping only three out of every 100 immunised people developing symptoms. But the report said there had been a “shift” in the dominant circulating strains during the rest of the winter. Prof Paul Cosford, from Public Health England, said its effectiveness had been “slightly lower” than usual. Flu is a constantly shifting target making it difficult to develop a vaccine. It is why a new jab is needed each year. Officials are concerned that the drop in the vaccine’s effectiveness may affect uptake this coming winter.

Length of publication: 1-page


On pins and needles: How vaccines are portrayed on Pinterest

October 13, 2015

Source: Vaccine, 33 (39), 22 September 2015, pp. 5051–5056

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Date of publication: September 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Vaccination is an effective public health tool for reducing morbidity and mortality caused by infectious diseases. However, increasing numbers of parents question the safety of vaccines or refuse to vaccinate their children outright. The Internet is playing a significant role in the growing voice of the anti-vaccination movement as a growing number of people use the Internet to obtain health information, including information about vaccines. Given the role the Internet plays in providing vaccination-related communication, coupled with limited research in this area, this study focused on the social media platform Pinterest, analyzing 800 vaccine-related pins through a quantitative content analysis. The majority of the pins were anti-vaccine, and most were original posts as opposed to repins. Concerns about vaccine safety and side effects were oft-repeated themes, as was the concept of conspiracy theory. Pro-vaccine pins elicited consistently more engagement than anti-vaccine pins. Health educators and public health organizations should be aware of these dynamics, since a successful health communication campaign should start with an understanding of what and how publics communicate about the topic at hand.

Length of publication: 5-pages


Reviewing the importance of the cold chain in the distribution of vaccines

October 13, 2015

Source: British Journal of Community Nursing, October 2015, 20 (10), pp. 481 – 486

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Date of publication: October 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Vaccination is an effective public health measure to prevent and control a number of infectious diseases. However, since vaccines are biological products and are sensitive to both heat and cold, they need to be maintained within a narrow range of temperatures, often referred to as the ‘cold-chain’. This range, which is between +2°C and +8°C with a target +5°C, does not allow for refreezing or storage at room temperature. This paper discusses the importance of the cold chain, what should be done both to maintain it, and the actions to be taken, should a break be noted. It is important to note the product information supplied with vaccines, which is taken from the summary of product characteristics that forms part of the licensing requirements for each vaccine, and which will state how it should be stored. Using a vaccine that has not been stored according to these instructions constitutes off-label use, for which the individual practitioner must take responsibility. It also emphasises the fragile nature of many public health interventions, maintenance of which require constant vigilance and close cooperation between many groups and individuals.

Length of publication: 6-pages


Quality of life impacts from rotavirus gastroenteritis on children and their families in the UK

October 12, 2015

Source: Vaccine33 (39), 22 September 2015, pp. 5212–5216

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Date of publication: September 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Aims: Rotavirus vaccines (RV) are safe and effective but demand significant investment of healthcare resource. In countries with low mortality due to rotavirus, a key component to assessing cost-effectiveness is quantifying the Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) lost due to rotavirus acute gastroenteritis (RVAGE). Quality of life impacts from rotavirus gastroenteritis on children and their families in the UK. Conclusions: We have found the HRQoL loss associated with RVAGE in children and their carers to be significantly higher than estimates used for all RV medical attendances in UK cost-effectiveness calculations.

Length of publication: 4-page article


Targeted vaccination in healthy school children – Can primary school vaccination alone control influenza?

October 12, 2015

Source: Vaccine33 (41), 5 October 2015, pp. 5415–5424

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Date of publication: October 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Background: The UK commenced an extension to the seasonal influenza vaccination policy in autumn 2014 that will eventually see all healthy children between the ages of 2–16 years offered annual influenza vaccination. Models suggest that the new policy will be both highly effective at reducing the burden of influenza as well as cost-effective. We explore whether targeting vaccination at either primary or secondary schools would be more effective and/or cost-effective than the current strategy. Targeted vaccination in healthy school children – Can primary school vaccination alone control influenza? Findings and conclusion: All potential vaccination policies were highly cost-effective. Influenza transmission can be eliminated for a particular season by vaccinating both primary and secondary school children, but not by vaccinating only one group. The most cost-effective policy overall is heterogeneous vaccination coverage with 48% uptake in primary schools and 34% in secondary schools. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation can consider a modification to their policy of offering seasonal influenza vaccinations to all healthy children of ages 2–16 years

Length of publication: 9-pages


Influenza vaccination and risk of stroke: Self-controlled case-series study

October 12, 2015

Source: Vaccine33 (41), 5 October 2015, pp. 5458–5463

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Date of publication: October 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Background: Stroke may be triggered by respiratory infections, including influenza. Influenza vaccination could therefore reduce risk of stroke. Previous studies of this association have shown conflicting results. We aimed to investigate whether influenza vaccination was associated with reduced risk of stroke. Influenza vaccination and risk of stroke: Self-controlled case-series study. Conclusions: Influenza vaccination is associated with a reduction in incidence of stroke. This study supports previous studies which have shown a beneficial association of influenza vaccination for stroke prevention.

Length of publication: 5-page article