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 2017-18.
We are making strides in our work on improving uptake of the immunisations programme in schools, with an immunisation team now embedded in the Healthy Schools team to promote and facilitate the programme. We discussed how to achieve greater access to and equity in uptake of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination in schools with the young persons advisory group (YPAG). This led to us collaborating with Senior Research Fellow Dr Suzanne Audrey on a successful NIHR Research for Patient Benefit proposal looking at the impact of self-consent on the uptake of schools-based HPV vaccination. The protocol paper has been published.
In Bristol there is a longstanding issue of very poor uptake of the tetanus booster. The establishment of the schools immunisation team has allowed this vaccine to be incorporated into the schools programme.
Bristol was one of the few areas in the South West that wasn't delivering maternal immunisation at point of care. This led to very low uptake and preventable illness and mortality among newborn babies. Our collaborative work has led to overcoming significant barriers to changes in practice locally. We now have plans for service change in 2018/19.
Bristol continues to be one of the most active centres in immunisation research. This includes a recently completed commercial study of a new formulation of varicella vaccine in toddlers and a pilot study in Bristol of a meningitis B vaccine in teenagers. We are recruiting to a large national study of two meningitis B vaccines in teenagers to look at the impact on carriage. We are leading a study exploring transmission of pneumococcus within families using the nasal flu vaccine as a probe. We are also leading a national study to define the costs and impact on quality of life of varicella in children and an upcoming multi-centre commercial trial of meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) conjugate vaccine in infants.