Why the UK is still strongly recommending that children get the nasal flu vaccine

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) , the body that advises the UK government on vaccination issues, recently issued a statement recommending that the UK should continue to use the nasal flu vaccine. The nasal flu vaccine is sprayed into the nose rather than injected, and was introduced into the UK in Autumn 2013.

Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in pregnancy can be given from as early as 16 weeks

Since October 2012 pregnant women in the UK have been offered the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine to help protect their newborn babies against this serious and life-threatening disease. The vaccine has been given between weeks 28 and 32 of pregnancy, which was thought to be the best time for antibodies to be made and passed from the mother to the baby across the placenta. Now Public Health England is updating its advice about the timing of vaccination: women will be able to get the pertussis vaccine any time between week 16 and week 32 of pregnancy.

Claims about ‘debilitating illness’ resulting from the HPV vaccine

On 31st May 2015 the Independent on Sunday newspaper ran a story claiming that ‘thousands’ of teenage girls were being left with debilitating illnesses (including POTS – postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) after their routine HPV vaccination. The story was poorly researched, and misinterpreted data the journalists had obtained from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

Historic announcement on MenB vaccine

Almost exactly a year ago, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that a new vaccine against group B meningococcus (MenB) should become part of the NHS’s routine immunisation schedule for children, as long as the Department of Health was able to negotiate a cost-effective price with the manufacturer. Those negotiations have taken months – but yesterday the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that the government had reached an agreement with the manufacturer of the MenB vaccine Bexsero®.

Meningococcal group W (MenW) immunisation advised for 14 to 18 year-olds

The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) today advised that immunisation for meningococcal group W (MenW) disease be offered to 14 to 18 year-olds.

This advice follows a report from Public Health England (PHE) that showed a continuing rise in cases of MenW since 2009. Whilst the number of MenW cases and overall risk remains very low, there has been an increase in prevalence with 117 cases last year.

How ill does measles make you?

A recent study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that measles has a much bigger impact on people’s lives than other illnesses such as flu, and also causes people to stay at home for an average of nearly 10 days – meaning that they may miss as much as a week and a half at work or at school. The researchers used questionnaire data from 203 people in England who were confirmed as having measles during the 2012 and 2013 epidemics. Over 90% of these people had not been vaccinated against measles.

The main findings of the study were: