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 2018-19.
Nationally, there is an increasingly challenging landscape for immunisation. There is an ongoing downward trend for many immunisations, resulting in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
For a variety of reasons, the uptake for one dose of MMR by age two has been even lower in Bristol than the national average. We have addressed this collaboratively using innovative initiatives in primary care, education of children and teachers in schools, increasing communication with ‘hard to reach’ groups, and specialist clinics for those with specific concerns. In the third quarter of 2018/19, the percentage of children receiving two doses of MMR by age five was higher than the national average. This is a huge achievement for all involved.
Addressing the lack of easy access to maternal immunisation continues to be a priority. Although structural service changes have already been made, we will continue to seek ways of improving access so that women are offered the opportunity to protect their babies are protected in early infancy.
Our research work continues with the launch of the multi-centre commercial trial of meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) conjugate vaccine in infants which is recruiting well; and the study in teenagers comparing the effects on carriage of two meningitis B vaccines continues.
The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funded study looking at self-consent in teenagers has nearly completed the data collection phase. We have completed a year of surveillance of children hospitalised with varicella and continue recruiting to a study looking at the impact on quality of life during varicella.
Our HIT continues to provide a forum for generating research ideas for grant applications, as well as ensuring that immunisation research is disseminated across the population and the wider healthcare community.