Immunisation Horizon Scanning Volume 7 Issue 5

December 22, 2015
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Should the UK introduce a universal childhood varicella vaccination programme?

December 21, 2015

Source: Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 2016, 101 (1), pp. 2-3

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Date of publication: December 2015

Publication Type: Editorial

In a nutshell: Primary varicella infection (chickenpox) is common in the UK with over three-quarters of parents reporting a history of chickenpox in their children by 5 years of age. Following primary infection, the varicella zoster virus (VZV) remains dormant in the dorsal root ganglia and reactivates in later life following a decline in cell-mediated immunity to cause herpes zoster or shingles (HZ). Although chickenpox is generally mild and self-limiting in healthy children, secondary bacterial infections, pneumonia and neurological complications can occur. The risk of severe chickenpox is higher in immunocompromised individuals, pregnant women and neonates, although most hospitalisations for severe complications are in previously healthy children. Shingles is a potentially debilitating condition, which results in a greater burden and quality of life loss than chickenpox. The incidence of shingles and the risk of post herpetic neuralgia increase with age.

Length of publication: 2 pages


Enter B and W: two new meningococcal vaccine programmes launched

December 21, 2015

Source: Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 2016, 101 (1), pp. 91-95

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Date of publication: October 2015

Publication Type: Review

In a nutshell: In 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to have a comprehensive routine meningococcal vaccine programme targeting all of the main capsular groups of N. meningitidis. 1 An infant vaccine programme against meningococcal capsular group B Neisseria meningitidis (MenB) was launched from 1st September with an aim to reduce endemic MenB disease in early childhood. On 1st August 2015, an adolescent programme against groups A, C, W and Y meningococci (MenACWY) was rolled out to halt a growing outbreak of capsular group W disease (MenW) caused by a hypervirulent clone of N. meningitidis, in addition to maintaining control against MenC disease provided by the current adolescent programme.

Length of publication: 5 page article


Jump in winter deaths last year is blamed on ineffective flu vaccine

November 30, 2015

Source: BMJ, 2015;351:h6392

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Date of publication: November 2015

Publication Type: News

In a nutshell: Excess deaths in England and Wales in 2014-15 were the highest for 15 years, the Office for National Statistics has reported, largely because of an ineffective flu vaccine.

Length of publication: 1 page


Managing influenza in primary care

November 30, 2015

Source: Practice Nursing, 2015, 26 (11), pp. 530 – 535

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Date of publication: November 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Practice nurses are a crucial part of the prevention of seasonal influenza in the community—one of the key winter pressures in the NHS. Influenza vaccination clinics are part of one of the most important public health campaigns (Public Health England (PHE), 2015a). Influenza is an acute viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is characterized by a fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. For healthy individuals influenza can be a self-limiting disease, but for those at risk it can have severe complications. This article discusses the epidemiology, presentation, prevention and treatment of influenza in general practice.

Length of publication: 5 page article


Influenza virus infection in pregnancy: a review

November 17, 2015

Source: Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 2015, 94 (8), pp. 797–819

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Date of publication: August 2015

Publication Type: Review

In a nutshell: Background: Influenza virus infection is very common and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in specific populations like pregnant women. Following the 2009 pandemic, several reports on the effects of influenza virus infection on maternal health and pregnancy outcome have been published. Also the safety and efficacy of antiviral treatment and vaccination of pregnant women have been studied. In this review, we have analyzed and summarized these data… Objective: To provide information on the influence of influenza virus infection during pregnancy on maternal health and pregnancy outcome and on the effect of treatment and vaccination… Conclusions: There is level 2b evidence that maternal health and pregnancy outcome can be severely affected by influenza virus infection. Antiviral treatment may diminish these effects and vaccination protects pregnant women and neonates from infection (level of evidence 2b and 1b, respectively).

Length of publication: 23 page article


What determines uptake of pertussis vaccine in pregnancy? A cross sectional survey in an ethnically diverse population of pregnant women in London

November 17, 2015

Source: Vaccine, 33 (43), 26 October 2015, pp. 5822–5828

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Date of publication: October 2015

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Highlights: Uptake of pertussis vaccine in pregnancy in our population was only 26%; Although nationally recommended, only 63% of pregnant women interviewed were even aware of the pertussis vaccination programme; Lack of encouragement from healthcare professionals was identified as the main reason; 91% of women believed healthcare professionals need to become more engaged in providing timely information about vaccines in pregnancy.

Length of publication: 6 page article