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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-protection-report-volume-8-2014/hpr-volume-8-issue-31-news
1. Communicable disease outbreak management operational guidance
Public Health England – in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Public Health, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Food Standards Agency – has revised and updated its operational guidance for the management of communicable disease outbreaks . First published in 2011, the guidance sets out in detail the roles and responsibilities of key agencies during outbreak investigations and the agreed procedures which can ensure successful implementation. The new edition is more partnership orientated and reflects recent organisational changes within PHE and across the public health landscape. It includes:
- updated policy context across all relevant agencies
- reference to relevant PHE policies and documents including the National Incident Response Plan and Concept of Operations
- detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of each organisation, updated to reflect post-transition landscape
- more information on legal aspects of outbreak management
- links to guidance on the “constructive debrief” and “lessons identified” processes.
- Communicable Disease Outbreak Management: Operational Guidance (August 2014). Downloadable from the PHE website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/communicable-disease-outbreak-management-operational-guidance.
2. Vaccine update for immunisation practitioners
The latest Vaccine Update  bulletin for immunisation practitioners and other healthcare professionals provides practical information about the national immunisation programme, including in respect of influenza, prenatal pertussis, and the ongoing roll-out of the shingles programme
The recent updating of the influenza chapter in the Green Book is noted , ahead of the start of the annual influenza vaccination programme in the Autumn. The main change is that 4-year olds have been added to the cohort of 2- and 3-year old children who will routinely be offered flu vaccination in England*. Another important change is a raising of the “cut-off” definition relating to severe asthma – above which the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Fluenz Tetra ® should not be offered. This has been changed to better reflect published data, expert advice and for clarity and should enable more asthmatic children (who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of flu) to benefit from Fluenz, which In children is considered superior to trivalent inactivated vaccines (TIV) in terms of effectiveness, duration of protection, breadth of protection and acceptability.
Other themes covered in Vaccine Update 217 are: changes to the HPV and prenatal pertussis programmes (including advice on best practice in delivery of the latter); the availability of updated literature and posters relating to the flu vaccination programme, and other “core immunisation publications”; and details of vaccine availability and supply arrangements during the holiday period.
* In addition to these age groups the devolved administrations will also offer influenza vaccination to children aged 5 years old (Scotland), all primary school children (Scotland and Northern Ireland) and children in year 7 (Wales).
Vaccine Update (issue 217, July/August 2014). Downloadable from the PHE website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england/series/vaccine-update.
PHE Immunisation against Infectious Disease: the Green Book: chapter 19 (influenza), https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/influenza-the-green-book-chapter-19.