Professor Adam Finn, Dr Julie Yates and Dr Marion Roderick, Directors of the Bristol Immunisation Group Health Integration Team (BIG HIT) give an update on the HIT's progress in 2016-17.
The Bristol Immunisation Group brings public health, clinical and academic experts together to improve the local performance and resilience of the national immunisation programmes. We also work to develop and deliver improvements through innovation and research.
We have evaluated the first year of the childhood flu programme for school age children. Our findings strongly support the delivery of the programme in school settings and has added to the evidence for future commissioning of these services. We are finalising a paper for publication.
During the last year we have built substantially on our established school-based research programme. We have designed and conducted a study, called the SPIT study, which looked at giving meningitis B (MenB) vaccine to 16-18-year-olds in two local secondary schools. The children provide throat swabs and saliva samples so that researchers could look at the impact on carriage. This builds on earlier local carriage and vaccine studies in schools and the University of Bristol, where a large proportion of undergraduates were given MenB vaccine in 2014.
We are working with the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit for Evaluation of Interventions on a number of projects. These include influenza vaccine coverage, pneumococcal carriage and transmission and rotavirus epidemiology. We are developing work on varicella and respiratory syncytial virus impact with them.
To tackle local issues of long waiting lists and low uptake of the BCG vaccine, which protects against tuberculosis, we facilitated a service change, so that it could be delivered by neonatal community staff. This is a huge success of our collaborative working.
Our research proposal looking at self-consent to improve uptake of teenage vaccines in schools, including human papilloma virus (HPV), has been approved for funding from the University of Bristol. The research will explore different groups’ views on self-consent, including teenagers.