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


Vaccines for preventing herpes zoster (shingles) in older adults

May 5, 2016

Source: Cochrane 

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Date of publication: March 2016

Publication Type: Cochrane Review

In a nutshell: Herpes zoster vaccine is effective in preventing herpes zoster disease and this protection can last three years. In general, zoster vaccine is well tolerated; it produces few systemic adverse events and injection site adverse events of mild to moderate intensity.


Meningitis B vaccine calls rejected despite petition

May 5, 2016

Source: BBC News

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Date of publication: March 2016

Publication Type: News

In a nutshell: Offering the meningitis B vaccine to all children is “not cost effective” and would be a waste of NHS money, the UK government says. Public support for extending the vaccine grew after the mother of two-year-old Faye Burdett shared pictures of her dying from the infection. The jab is offered to children in their first year of life. But more than 800,000 people signed a petition for it to be given to all children under 11.

Length of publication: 1 page news story


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


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