This investigation sets out the system for providing vaccinations to pre-school children in England. It is prompted by public concerns about the levels of uptake of pre‑school vaccinations | National Audit Office
Health professionals consider that vaccinations are a crucial tool in protecting the health of individuals and that of the wider population, particularly for people with existing health problems who are more vulnerable to infectious diseases and for those who cannot receive vaccinations themselves. For vaccinations to be most effective, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that enough people need to be vaccinated to stop disease spreading across the population. This is called ‘herd immunity’.
There are seven types of vaccines (which protect against 13 diseases) routinely provided to children by the National Health Service (NHS) before they go to school aged five. In 2017‑18, the Department of Health & Social Care (the Department) set NHS England a performance standard of 95% uptake for pre-school vaccinations (except flu). There has been a general fall in uptake of pre-school vaccinations in England since 2012-13 and, in many cases, uptake of these vaccinations
is below the Department’s performance standard.
This report sets out:
the current levels of vaccination uptake and cases of disease across England
Public Health England (PHE)’s and NHS England’s understanding of the problem
PHE’s and NHS England’s response to the problem.
The report uses the MMR vaccination, the 4-in-1 booster and the Hib/MenC booster to highlight many of the challenges that exist in the system for pre‑school vaccinations and illustrate in more detail how uptake of vaccinations is falling.
Record numbers of people in England will be offered a flu vaccine this winter. For the first time, all primary school children will be offered the nasal spray | via Public Health England
The health service in England has prepared for its largest ever flu protection drive to help keep people well and ease pressure on urgent care services over the colder months.
The number of people eligible has topped 25 million this year as the offer of the vaccine is now extended to all primary school aged children – an extra 600,000 children. NHS commissioned school vaccination teams, maternity services, general practices and local pharmacies are all now preparing to provide vaccines to primary school aged children, 2 and 3 year olds, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women and older adults (aged 65 years and over).
Employers of frontline health and social care workers also have a responsibility to ensure their staff can get the free vaccine. A record number of NHS staff – almost 3 quarters of a million, or 70.3% of frontline workers – took up their workplace jab last year.
A more effective flu vaccine is available this winter for those aged 65 and over, which could prevent deaths and reduce the burden on the NHS | Public Health England
Public Health England (PHE) has announced that a more effective flu vaccine will be available this winter for those aged 65 and over. The broader flu vaccination, for eligible adults under 65, will also be improved and the nasal spray vaccine to primary school children will be extended to those in year 5.
PHE’s annual flu marketing campaign will launch on 8 October. NHS England has also announced the extension of NHS seasonal influenza vaccination to social care workers and staff in the voluntary managed hospice sector.
People who are eligible for the flu vaccine this year include:
adults aged 65 and over
adults aged 18 to 64 with a long term health condition
children aged 2 to 3 at their GP practice
school children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England have published new guidance on how to increase uptake of NHS flu vaccinations by identifying and encouraging those who are eligible.
It describes ways to increase awareness and how to use all opportunities in primary and secondary care to identify people who should be encouraged to have the vaccination.
NHS staff who refuse to have the flu vaccine this winter will have to give reasons to their employer, as leaders make efforts to improve take-up rates| BMJ2017; 359
NHS leaders are to write to all NHS staff urging them to be vaccinated against flu as soon as possible. The letter will make it clear that staff who refuse the vaccine will have to give reasons to their employing NHS trust, which will then be recorded.
The heads of NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health for England, and NHS Improvement said that they were writing to remind staff of their “professional duty to protect their patients.” Trusts are also being urged to make the flu vaccine “readily available” to staff.
Although last year saw record take-up of the vaccine among staff, more than a third of NHS staff members did not take up the offer, with just a fifth being vaccinated in some trusts.
Hospitals and GP surgeries are being warned by NHS England to be prepared for a big increase in cases of flu this winter after a heavy season in the southern hemisphere.