New flu vaccine available this winter for those aged 65 and over

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

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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
  • pregnant women
  • health and social care workers
  • carers
  • morbidly obese people

Full detail here

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NICE aims to improve flu vaccination uptake

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.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Full guideline: Flu vaccination: increasing uptake

Vaccine update: October 2017

This vaccine update provides immunisation practitioners with the latest developments in vaccines, vaccination policies and procedures.

The vaccine update October edition 271 features:

  • influenza vaccination and patients on therapy for HIV infection (highly active anti-retroviral therapy – HAART)
  • survey for GPs about diagnosis and management of blood-borne viruses (BBV) among migrants
  • call for GP or school practice improvement
  • vaccine coverage for pertussis vaccination programme for pregnant women: update to June 2017
  • latest infant Meningitis B and school leaver MenACWY vaccine coverage estimates published
  • latest UK vaccine coverage figures for children aged up to 5 published
  • interpretation of vaccine storage requirements
  • The Vaccination of individuals with uncertain or incomplete vaccination status has been updated
  • flu vaccine information and availability for the children’s national flu vaccination programme 2017 to 2018
  • eligibility of children for flu vaccines
  • giving a second dose of LAIV
  • influenza Vaccines for the 2017 to 2018 influenza season
  • Hexavalent vaccine (Infanrix hexa®)
  • ordering for Infanrix hexa® (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB) is open on ImmForm
  • change to InterVax BCG vaccine ordering restrictions
  • to be aware of vaccine pack changes
  • change to Rotarix presentation
  • shortage of pneumococcal polysaccharide 23-valent vaccine (PPV23)
  • vaccine supply for non-routine programmes
  • historical vaccine development and introduction of routine vaccine programmes in the UK

Full update available at Public Health England

NHS staff who refuse flu vaccine this winter will have to give reasons

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|  BMJ 2017359 

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Image source: Daniel Dionne – Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

 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.

Full story via BMJ 2017359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4766

Screening programmes | Childhood flu vaccination

Public Health England has updated the following documents:

 

Exposure to information and seasonal influenza vaccination uptake in nurses

Coverage of annual influenza vaccination of healthcare workers (HCWs) varies and remains at a sub-optimal level in many countries | Journal of Hospital Infection

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As HCWs are often exposed to a variety of information on vaccination, their pattern of exposure may impact their decision, which deserves further investigation.

Practising nurses in Hong Kong were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey in February 2015, after the winter seasonal peak. The questionnaire covered demographics, work nature and experiences, vaccination uptake history and reasons for vaccination decisions. Two categories of behaviors with regards to information access were defined – (A) passive exposure to information, and (B) active information-seeking, as differentiated by the source, type and nature of information accessed. Chi-square test, Mann-Whitney U test, logistic regression were performed to compare between vaccinated and unvaccinated nurses.

A total of 1177 valid returns were received from nurses who had a median age of 32, of whom 86% were female. The overall vaccination rate was 33%. Passive exposure to information from workplace, professional body and social network did not predict vaccination decision, while mass media did (OR:1.78). Active information-seeking involving consulting seniors (OR:2.46), having organized promotion activities (OR:2.85) and performing information search (OR:2.43) were significantly associated with increased vaccination uptake. Cumulative effect could be demonstrated for active information seeking (OR:1.86) but not passive exposure to information.

Current strategy of promotions and campaigns for seasonal influenza vaccination in HCWs may not be effective in increasing vaccination coverage. Measures targeting information-seeking behaviors may serve as an alternative approach.

Full reference: Cheung, E.K.H. et al. (2017) Pattern of exposure to information and its impacts on seasonal influenza vaccination uptake in nurses. Journal of Hospital Infection. Published online: 11 August 2017