Hepatitis vaccine temporary supply issues
There are current global stock issues which are affecting the UK supply of both the hepatitis A and B vaccines.
Public Health England has developed temporary recommendations on priority groups for each with advice on vaccine sparing alternatives where appropriate.
NB these supply constraints do not affect the hexavalent vaccine (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB) which is being introduced into the routine childhood immunisaiton programme.
Please see the letter from the PHE immunisation team and TB consultants: BCG letter to paediatricians neonatologists and heads of midwifery, detailing the current advice on the BCG vaccine availability and the priority groups recommended for vaccination. Please see this special edition of vaccine update: Vaccine update: issue 265, July 2017,BCG special edition, and the section for Tuberculosis on the PHE immunisation pages for further resources and information.
MMR / Measles
PHE has released new leaflets and posters designed to promote MMR vaccination, particularly to those who may have missed vaccination as children, and to alert people to symptoms of measles so they can minimise spread of infection. See:
The Green Book - Immunisation against infectious diseases contains advice on all aspects of vaccine administration.
The RCN position in relation to the role of health care assistants / health care support workers (HCSW) and vaccine administration see:
Please ensure if you are using a hard copy of these documents that you are using the most recent version.
For more information on the administration of vaccines in relation to Patient Specific Directions (PSD) and Patient Group Directions (PGD) please visit the medicines optimisation resource.
RCN online advice provides additional information and advice available for RCN members (login only). By searching for ‘immunisations’ you can find information on:
All staff involved in administering vaccines should be suitably trained and competent to fulfil the role and be able to answer questions with accuracy and confidence in line with nationally agreed standards.
The Green Book, chapter three provides information on the correct storage of vaccines. As biological substances, vaccines may lose their effectiveness quickly if they become too hot or too cold at any time, especially during transport and storage. Incorrect storage may result in the failure of the vaccine to protect, as well as resulting in vaccine wastage.
Vaccine wastage has significant cost implications estimated at approximately £2million per year.
Jane Chiodini reviews the best practice guidance to provide clinicians with knowledge to effectively enhance local storage and handling protocols.
The immunisation programme in the UK is constantly evolving to best protect the public by controlling vaccine preventable diseases. Health professionals must keep up to date with these changes.
The vaccine supply newsletter, ‘Vaccine Update’ comes out approximately every four to six weeks and can be emailed directly to individuals upon request. Email: Vaccine.Supply@dh.gsi.gov.uk. This newsletter gives advice on current vaccine availability, any changes to the schedule and updates to the Green Book.
‘Vaccine Update’ is available to health care professionals across the UK. However, for country specific information, see:
UK figures for overseas travellers have more than tripled since 1981 (Office for National Statistics, 2012) and travel health medicine is a fast growing specialist area of practice. The RCN guidance ‘Travel health nursing: career and competence development' defines the standards of care expected for a competent registered nurse, experienced/proficient nurse and a senior practitioner/expert nurse working in travel health nursing.
It is good practice to support any advice you give with written information. Check that the information printed from websites is up to date, evidence based and from a credible source.
As a general guide when searching the web for information, ask yourself and encourage patients, parents and carers to ask the following questions:
In addition look for websites providing reliable and trustworthy health information which have the Health on the net HONcode.
* denotes American websites where vaccine schedules may vary to those followed in the UK.