The impact of meningitis vaccines and their future role

May 6, 2016

Source: Prescriber, 2016, 27 (3), pp. 37-41

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Date of publication: March 2016

Publication Type: Analysis

In a nutshell: The success of the meningococcal group A (MenA) vaccination in the African meningitis belt, public support for the extension of the MenB vaccination in the UK and the importance of vaccination in the fight against antimicrobial resistance all endorse the need for additional meningitis vaccines in the future.

Length of publication: 5 page article


Zika virus disease: a public health emergency of international concern

May 5, 2016

Source: British Journal of Nursing, 2016, 25 (4), pp. 198 – 202

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Date of publication: February 2016

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: The emergence of Zika virus disease (ZIKV) in the Americas, mainly Brazil, has required the World Health Organization to take action to halt the spread of the virus by implementing preventive measures. This has resulted in increased surveillance of the virus and its potential complications. In the UK, cases of ZIKV have been reported in returning travellers. With the importance of this disease increasing, it is vital that nurses and other health professionals take the time to learn about ZIKV in order to pass on this knowledge to patients, enabling them to make informed choices about travel to affected areas. This article will discuss the ZIKV, its complications and what to advise travellers, including pregnant women, to prevent transmission and spread.

Length of publication: 4 page article


Text messaging reminders for influenza vaccine in primary care: a cluster randomised controlled trial

April 11, 2016

Source: BMJ Open2016;6:e010069

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Date of publication: February 2016

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Objectives (1) To develop methods for conducting cluster randomised trials of text messaging interventions utilising routine electronic health records at low cost; (2) to assess the effectiveness of text messaging influenza vaccine reminders in increasing vaccine uptake in patients with chronic conditions. Design Cluster randomised trial with general practices as clusters. Setting English primary care. Participants 156 general practices, who used text messaging software, who had not previously used text message influenza vaccination reminders. Eligible patients were aged 18–64 in ‘at-risk’ groups. Interventions Practices were randomly allocated to either an intervention or standard care arm in the 2013 influenza season (September to December). Practices in the intervention arm were asked to send a text message influenza vaccination reminder to their at-risk patients under 65. Practices in the standard care arm were asked to continue their influenza campaign as planned. Blinding Practices were not blinded. Analysis was performed blinded to practice allocation. Main outcome measures Practice-level influenza vaccine uptake among at-risk patients aged 18–64 years. Results 77 practices were randomised to the intervention group (76 analysed, n at-risk patients=51 121), 79 to the standard care group (79 analysed, n at-risk patients=51 136). The text message increased absolute vaccine uptake by 2.62% (95% CI −0.09% to 5.33%), p=0.058, though this could have been due to chance. Within intervention clusters, a median 21.0% (IQR 10.2% to 47.0%) of eligible patients were sent a text message. The number needed to treat was 7.0 (95% CI −0.29 to 14.3). Conclusions Patient follow-up using routine electronic health records is a low cost method of conducting cluster randomised trials. Text messaging reminders are likely to result in modest improvements in influenza vaccine uptake, but levels of patients being texted need to markedly increase if text messaging reminders are to have much effect.

Length of publication: 12 page article


An update on immunization in UK

February 23, 2016

Source: Paediatrics and Child Health

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Date of publication: January 2016

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: The immunization schedule changes frequently and it is important that healthcare professionals keep up to date. Parents often look to specialists for advice about vaccinating their children and place more trust in them, than government bodies. This article describes the introduction of meningococcal B and ACWY vaccines and the extension of influenza vaccine to some older children. The success of the rotavirus and maternal pertussis programmes is noted. Possible changes to the HPV and hepatitis B programmes are discussed as are vaccines for the future such as varicella, RSV and Group B streptococcus. Extra vaccines/doses for children with chronic disorders are briefly described. Keywords: hepatitis B; HPV; immunization; influenza; meningococcal ACWY; meningococcal B; pertussis; rotavirus; vaccine

Length of publication: 5 pages


School-based intervention for the prevention of HPV among adolescents: a cluster randomised controlled study

February 22, 2016

Source: BMJ Open, 2016;6:e009875.

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Date of publication: January 2016

Publication Type: Journal Article

In a nutshell: Objective To improve primary prevention of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection by promoting vaccination and increased condom use among upper secondary school students. Design Cluster randomised controlled trial. Setting 18 upper secondary schools in Sweden. Participants Schools were first randomised to the intervention or the control group, after which individual classes were randomised so as to be included or not. Of the 832 students aged 16 years invited to participate during the regular individual health interview with the school nurse, 751 (90.2%) agreed to participate and 741 (89.1%) students completed the study. Interventions The intervention was based on the Health Belief Model (HBM). According to HBM, a person’s health behaviour can be explained by individual beliefs regarding health actions. School nurses delivered 30 min face-to-face structured information about HPV, including cancer risks and HPV prevention, by propagating condom use and HPV vaccination. Students in the intervention and the control groups completed questionnaires at baseline and after 3 months. Main outcome measures Intention to use condom with a new partner and beliefs about primary prevention of HPV, and also specifically vaccination status and increased condom use. Results All statistical analyses were performed at the individual level. The intervention had a significant effect on the intention to use condom (p=0.004). There was also a significant effect on HBM total score (p=0.003), with a 2.559 points higher score for the intervention group compared to the controls. The influence on the HBM parameters susceptibility and severity was also significant (p<0.001 for both variables). The intervention also influenced behaviour: girls in the intervention group chose to have themselves vaccinated to a significantly higher degree than the controls (p=0.02). No harms were reported. Conclusions The school-based intervention had favourable effects on the beliefs about primary prevention of HPV, and increased the HPV vaccination rates in a diverse population of adolescents.

Length of publication: 12 page article


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


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