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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-report-volume-10-2016/hpr-volume-10-issue-20-news-24-june
1. Further results of childhood influenza vaccination programme released
PHE has released further evidence of the effectiveness of the national seasonal flu vaccination programme in the UK and, in particular, of the role of the universal childhood influenza vaccine programme in protecting children during the 2016/17 season . Last winter was the first during which all healthy children of school-year-1 age and school-year-2 age, across England, were offered the recently-licensed, live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV).
Provisional end-of-season estimates of overall influenza vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed circulating influenza (A and B), in children and adults, was greater than 50% in 2015/16 – consistent with previous estimates of influenza effectiveness. In those aged 2-17 years who received the LAIV, effectiveness was nearly 58% .
PHE notes that similar evidence of LAIV effectiveness has been reported in Finland, in contrast to the USA where it has been reported that LAIV has been less effective.
During the winter of 2014/15, before LAIV was offered to the youngest primary school-aged children, pilot programmes were run in a number of areas across England. During that season, in areas where CNSV vaccine was offered to primary school age children, there was not only a 94% reduction in GP influenza-like illness consultation rates in the children themselves (and a 74% reduction in A&E respiratory attendances and a 93% reduction in hospital admissions among children) but also, in the same pilot areas, a 59% reduction in GP consultation rates for influenza-like illness in adults, compared to non-pilot areas .
A fuller report on seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness in 2015/16 will be published later in the summer.
- PHE (22 June 2016). Influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) in adults and children in primary care in the UK: provisional end-of-season results 2015 to 2016.
- “Child flu vaccine plays important role in annual flu programme”, PHE website news story (23 June 2016).
2. Reminder on enhanced surveillance for Legionella longbeachae
PHE operates enhanced surveillance and microbiological testing for suspected Legionella Longbeachae cases, as routine legionella urinary antigen testing will not detect these cases.
Eligible cases are patients admitted to intensive care with community-acquired pneumonia and:
- a history of contact with horticultural growth medium in the 14 days prior to onset, and
- negative local tests for legionella urinary antigen, pneumococcal urinary antigens and respiratory pathogen screens.
The PHE Respiratory and Vaccine Preventable Bacteria Reference Unit (Colindale) will undertake to isolate and detect Legionella Longbeachae in referred specimens meeting these criteria at no cost to the referring laboratory.
Lower respiratory specimens (sputa, bronchoalveolar lavage or lung tissue) may be forwarded directly to the reference laboratory, as per the relevant user manual . Specimens should be clearly marked “Legionella Longbeachae Surveillance”.
- PHE (2014). Bacteriology reference department (BRD): user manual.
3. UK child vaccination coverage data, January to March 2016, in this issue of HPR
Latest quarterly coverage data for children in the UK who reached their first, second, or fifth birthday between January and March 2016 are published in this issue of HPR .
Vaccination coverage remains high across the UK in all routine vaccinations in children aged up to five years. UK vaccine coverage, at one year, for the recently-introduced rotavirus vaccine increased to 90.4% compared to 89.6% in the previous quarter.
The report discusses participation and data quality aspects of the vaccine coverage assessment process. In this evaluation period, data were received from all Health Boards in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. In England, Area Teams (ATs) and Child Health Record Departments (CHRDs) provided data.