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1.  Immunisation state of young children admitted to hospital and effectiveness of a ward based opportunistic immunisation policy. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;302(6767):31-33.
OBJECTIVE--To study the need for and effectiveness of a ward based opportunistic immunisation policy. DESIGN--A six month prospective study. SETTING--An acute medical paediatric ward of an inner city teaching hospital. SUBJECTS--296 children admitted to the ward who lived within Central Manchester Health Authority boundaries and were aged from 5 months to 6 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Completion of immunisation schedule appropriate for age. RESULTS--56 children were three or more months behind with immunisations. The parent's history was not reliable for 18 children. Accessing health authority immunisation records was not difficult. The main reasons for falling behind were the mobility of the families (15 children), lack of motivation (14), and frequent minor illnesses (9). 40 children were immunised before discharge, but three could not be because of valid contraindications. Of the 16 children requiring more immunisations after discharge, only four obtained them at the correct time and five children not at all. CONCLUSION--An opportunistic immunisation policy is an important means of immunising a vulnerable group of children who would often default on routine immunisations, and such policies should operate whenever possible. Our ward based policy can achieve immunisation of three quarters of possible children without change or inconvenience to the daily ward work, but efficacy relies on adequate levels of enthusiastic staff. The system can be improved by having accurate and updated immunisation records available in the hospital, and by encouraging nursing staff to participate.
PMCID: PMC1668766  PMID: 1991185
2.  Protection against pertussis by immunisation. 
British Medical Journal  1980;281(6252):1390-1391.
Review of all 126 children admitted to the communicable diseases unit with whooping cough during the epidemic in 1978 showed that two had received two doses of triple vaccine and only one had had full primary immunisation against the disease. None of these three children suffered complications of the disease. Of the 123 children who had not been immunised against pertussis, however, 66 had had one or more complications. In Birmingham the dramatic decline in immunisation against pertussis has been accompanied by a fall in acceptance rates for diphtheria and tetanus immunization. Nevertheless, of the 62 children aged over 1 year in this series, 41 had been so immunised. These findings suggest that the apparently positive decision by parents to omit pertussis immunisation was misplaced, since immunisation does protect against the more serious complications of the disease. Furthermore, there is no firm evidence that pertussis immunisation of children without specific contraindications is associated with serious adverse reactions.
PMCID: PMC1715025  PMID: 7437805
3.  Pertussis: should we immunise neurologically disabled and developmentally delayed children? 
A total of 400 children with neurological disorders were studied to ascertain whether they had been immunised against pertussis, the reasons for non-immunisation, and the "validity" of these reasons, as judged by interpretation of the recommendations of the Department of Health and Social Security. The results for this group were compared with those for a group of 400 aged matched controls. The study group had a significantly lower rate of immunisation than controls (p less than 0.01); rates for both groups fell sharply after 1975. A total of 192 study patients and 186 controls were not immunised. Those children with cerebral palsy had the lowest rate of immunisation (19%) and the highest number of valid reasons for non-immunisation (63%). Paediatricians apparently advised against immunisation in 61 (32%) of the index group but in only four (2%) of the controls. The risk of serious neurological handicap after pertussis immunisation is small and there is little evidence to support the view that underlying neurological disease predisposes a child to increased risk. The advice currently given by paediatricians may need to be reconsidered.
PMCID: PMC1548543  PMID: 6191823
4.  Missed opportunities to vaccinate children admitted to a paediatric tertiary hospital 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2007;92(7):620-622.
Background
Inequalities in vaccine uptake exist. Studies suggest paediatric inpatients have lower rates of immunisation uptake than the general population. Various UK policies advocate opportunistic immunisation.
Aim
To evaluate practice within a paediatric tertiary hospital in identifying and facilitating vaccination of inpatients who were not fully immunised.
Methods
Case notes for 225 inpatients were examined. Thirty staff of various professions and grades were interviewed. Policies, forms and documents used in the hospital were reviewed.
Results
Immunisation status was recorded for 71% of children admitted, but for 69% of these immunisations were documented as “up‐to‐date” without any further information recorded. At least 20% of inpatients were incompletely immunised, but very little was done to facilitate vaccination. There was no training for staff either in giving advice or in administering vaccines and staff views differed regarding the hospital's role in immunisations. While there were guidelines for specific groups of patients, there were no general immunisation policies. Incorrect and out‐of‐date immunisation schedules were found on documents.
Conclusions
Opportunities to immunise children continue to be missed by all levels of health care service provision. Tertiary centres have a role to play in supporting primary care services to ensure that these vulnerable children are appropriately immunised. Measures are being taken to address the problems identified in this study and we strongly suspect that other hospitals in the UK ought to be confronting these issues as well.
doi:10.1136/adc.2006.104778
PMCID: PMC2083800  PMID: 17213260
children; hospitals; inequalities; opportunistic immunisation; vaccinations
5.  More support for mothers: a qualitative study on factors affecting immunisation behaviour in Kampala, Uganda 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:723.
Background
The proportion of Ugandan children who are fully vaccinated has varied over the years. Understanding vaccination behaviour is important for the success of the immunisation programme. This study examined influences on immunisation behaviour using the attitude-social influence-self efficacy model.
Methods
We conducted nine focus group discussions (FGDs) with mothers and fathers. Eight key informant interviews (KIIs) were held with those in charge of community mobilisation for immunisation, fathers and mothers. Data was analysed using content analysis.
Results
Influences on the mother's immunisation behaviour ranged from the non-supportive role of male partners sometimes resulting into intimate partner violence, lack of presentable clothing which made mothers vulnerable to bullying, inconvenient schedules and time constraints, to suspicion against immunisation such as vaccines cause physical disability and/or death.
Conclusions
Immunisation programmes should position themselves to address social contexts. A community programme that empowers women economically and helps men recognise the role of women in decision making for child health is needed. Increasing male involvement and knowledge of immunisation concepts among caretakers could improve immunisation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-723
PMCID: PMC3187758  PMID: 21942999
6.  Improving immunisation timeliness in Aboriginal children through personalised calendars 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:598.
Background
Delayed immunisation and vaccine preventable communicable disease remains a significant health issue in Aboriginal children. Strategies to increase immunisation coverage and timeliness can be resource intensive. In a low cost initiative at the Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney (AMSWS) in 2008–2009, a trial of personalised calendars to prompt timely childhood immunisation was undertaken.
Methods
Calendars were generated during attendances for early childhood immunisations. They were designed for display in the home and included the due date of the next immunisation, a photo of the child and Aboriginal artwork. In a retrospective cohort design, Australian Childhood Immunisation Register data from AMSWS and non-AMSWS providers were used to determine the delay in immunisation and percentage of immunisations on time in those who received a calendar compared to those who did not. Interviews were undertaken with carers and staff.
Results
Data on 2142 immunisation doses given to 505 children were analysed, utilising pre-intervention (2005–2007) and intervention (2008–2009) periods and a 2 year post-intervention observation period. 113 calendars were distributed (30% of eligible immunisation attendances). Improvements in timeliness were seen at each schedule point for those children who received a calendar. The average delay in those who received a calendar at their previous visit was 0.6 months (95% CI -0.8 to 2.6) after the due date, compared to 3.3 months (95% CI −0.6 to 7.5) in those who did not. 80% of doses were on time in the group who received a calendar at the preceding immunisation, 66% were on time for those who received a calendar at an earlier point and 57% of doses were on time for those who did not receive a calendar (P<0.0001, Cochran-Armitage trend test). Interview data further supported the value and effectiveness of the calendars as both a prompt to timely immunisations and a community health education project without undue resource implications.
Conclusions
Personalised calendars can increase the timeliness of immunisations in Aboriginal children. This simple, low cost tool appears practicable and effective in an Aboriginal community setting in improving early childhood vaccination timeliness and has high potential for local adaptation to suit the needs of diverse communities.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-598
PMCID: PMC3704958  PMID: 23786829
Immunisation; Indigenous; Aboriginal; Timeliness of immunisation; Delayed immunisation
7.  National Childhood Encephalopathy Study: an interim report. 
British Medical Journal  1978;2(6143):992-993.
Data from the first year of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study were reviewed to see whether any relation was apparent between pertussis vaccination and brain disease. Three hundred and eighty-seven cases of encephalitis and other specified neurological conditions in which the children were admitted to hospital were reported, of which 267 satisfied the study criteria. Control children were matched for age with the index cases, and medical and immunisation histories were reviewed. Few of the index cases had been vaccinated within 28 days before admission to hospital, so that no close association between vaccination and brain disease existed in most cases. The number of children who had recently been immunised was too small for any statistically useful conclusion to be reached about the risk associated with pertussis vaccine. The study is continuing.
PMCID: PMC1607925  PMID: 709204
8.  A qualitative study of lay beliefs about influenza immunisation in older people 
Background
Although influenza immunisation is now recommended for all people aged 65 years and over in the UK, many people in that age group still remain unimmunised.
Aim
To investigate lay beliefs about influenza and influenza vaccine in older people to identify appropriate ways of promoting vaccine uptake.
Design
Qualitative study using narrative interviews.
Setting
Urban and rural communities in South Wales.
Method
Participants were 54 people aged 65 years and over who were interviewed in their own home. Of these, 11 were regularly immunised, 18 had consistently refused immunisation (refusers), 15 had defaulted (defaulters), five had never been offered immunisation, and five had recently been immunised for the first time.
Results
There was an overwhelming consensus among immunised and unimmunised individuals that they were not at risk from influenza. Even if they did catch influenza, they would not suffer from any serious consequences. Refusers and defaulters were more likely to believe that the influenza vaccine had serious side-effects, while the regularly immunised group were more likely to perceive the vaccine as effective. Multiple prompts from family, friends, or primary care staff were important triggers for receiving immunisation.
Conclusion
Many older people did not feel vulnerable to influenza, regardless of their age, and this influenced their views on the need for immunisation. Both refusers and defaulters overstated adverse effects from influenza vaccine so this is a potential target for an intervention. Individual prompts, particularly from GPs, seemed to be the most significant motivators to attend for immunisation.
PMCID: PMC2047008  PMID: 17504584
aged; influenza vaccine; patient acceptance of health care; qualitative research
9.  Primary immunisations in Liverpool. II: Is there a gap between consent and completion? 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1993;69(1):115-119.
The association between completion of primary dipht eria, tetanus and pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella and polio immunisation courses in Liverpool and five sociodemographic factors, namely the child's sex, position in the family, family type, migration into Liverpool since birth, and local deprivation was examined. Only 68% of children were fully immunised by their second birthday. The immunisation rate for pertussis was 74%, compared with 85-89% for the other antigens. Children who had older siblings, were recorded as living with one parent, had moved into Liverpool or who lived in areas of high deprivation were less likely to complete the full set of antigens and individual courses. Boys were significantly less likely than girls to be fully immunised against pertussis. Differences in the completion of pertussis immunisation associated with the child's sex and with local deprivation were a direct reflection of differences in rates of parental consent. Parental consent did not wholly account for significantly lower rates among children with older siblings, those living with a lone parent, and those who had moved into Liverpool, however. This may reflect the practical difficulties of attending immunisation clinics. To achieve immunisation targets, a more flexible and targeted approach is required of health professionals. This may include the careful targeting of efforts to increase consent and the improvement of access to immunisations by providing domiciliary services or by opportunistic immunisation of infants when they are in contact with primary and community health care services.
PMCID: PMC1029423  PMID: 8024292
10.  Immunisation of neonates at high risk of hepatitis B in England and Wales: national surveillance. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1988;297(6643):249-253.
The results of a voluntary programme of immunisation against hepatitis B in neonates at high risk (mother being positive for hepatitis B surface antigen and without hepatitis B e antibody or having had acute hepatitis B late in pregnancy) are reported. The programme was offered in England and Wales from November 1982. Passive immunisation alone was available in the first six months of life until 1985, after which infants received passive and active immunisation from birth; in addition, some infants received passive immunisation for six months followed by a course of hepatitis B vaccine. All but a few infants received the first immunising dose within 48 hours after birth. Blood samples for analysing markers of hepatitis B virus were available at 1 year from 147 of the 223 infants given passive immunisation, 54 of the 72 given passive followed by active immunisation, and 102 of the 155 given passive and active immunisation at birth. At 1 year 11 of the 127 (9%) infants given four or more doses of specific hepatitis B immunoglobulin were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen compared with four of the 20 given three or fewer doses; 11 had levels of hepatitis B surface antibody greater than 50 IU/l. Only one of the 54 infants given passive then active immunisation was positive for hepatitis B surface antigen at 1 year and four infants had low (less than or equal to 50 IU/l) levels of hepatitis B surface antibody. Four of the 102 infants who received passive and active immunisation at birth were positive for hepatitis B surface antigen. Two had received the fill course of vaccine, whereas in the other two vaccination was incomplete or unstated. In 79 of the 89 infants who received a complete course of vaccination the level of hepatitis B surface antibody was known, and 70 had levels at 1 year greater than 100 IU/1. Reactions to immunisation were not severe at any age. The incidence of side effects was 8% for the immunoglobulin, 11% for the vaccine, and 9% when immunoglobulin and vaccine were given together. Wider collaboration in the programme is requested.
PMCID: PMC1833933  PMID: 2970879
11.  Comparison of immunisation rates in general practice and child health clinics. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;303(6809):1035-1038.
OBJECTIVE--To compare immunisation uptake rates in general practice surgeries and community child health clinics. DESIGN--Cohort study using data from a computerised child health system. SETTING--Four health districts of North East Thames Regional Health Authority. SUBJECTS--3616 children born January to March 1990 and resident in the four districts at the end of January 1991. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Immunisation uptake rates at 10-12 months of age, age at immunisation, scheduling performance at the two locations, and odds ratios of outstanding immunisations. RESULTS--80% of children registered at general practices had completed their third dose of pertussis immunisation compared with 68% of those at health clinics. Median ages at the third dose were 24 weeks and 29 weeks at the two locations respectively. Scheduling was more effective at general practice surgeries. Unscheduled immunisations were more likely to be given after the recommended age. Overall, children resident in rural and suburban areas had greater uptakes than those in inner cities. Odds ratios for not being fully immunised among children registered at health clinics were 1.4 times those among children immunised in general practice and 3.0 times greater among children resident in inner cities than among those in rural and suburban districts. Children who moved into a district, however, were no less likely to be fully immunised than children who were born there. CONCLUSIONS--The immunisation uptake rate was better in general practices than in child health clinics in both inner city and rural and suburban areas. Uptake may be increased with additional support to enable general practitioners to undertake immunisations, especially in inner cities.
PMCID: PMC1671732  PMID: 1954458
12.  Whooping cough after stopping pertussis immunisation. 
British Medical Journal  1979;1(6178):1601-1603.
An epidemic of whooping cough occurred in a rural practice in Shetland, containing 144 children under 16. Before July 1974 all children were immunised against pertussis, but after that date immunisation was stopped. Of the 134 children studied, 93 had been immunised. Sixty-five of the children developed whooping cough. The incidence of infection was similar in those who had and had not been immunised. The incidence was also similar in those born before and after July 1974. There was no evidence to support the routine use of pertussis immunisation in rural Shetland.
PMCID: PMC1599131  PMID: 466141
13.  Pertussis: what percentage of children can we immunise? 
The immunisation records of 584 children who were born between 1978 and 1982, in a general practice of average social class distribution, were examined: 3.5% of the children would have been excluded from starting a course of vaccination including pertussis using contra-indications established by the Department of Health and Social Security. A further 3.5% had reactions to immunisation that were judged severe enough to prevent completing the course of vaccination. In 1981 and 1982 13% of parents refused pertussis vaccination, considerably fewer than from 1978 to 80. Concomitantly, immunisation against pertussis rose from 51% to 84% over the five year period. Given the incidence of contra-indications and the level of parental refusal, it is concluded that a pertussis uptake of 80% would be a reasonable target for any population.
PMCID: PMC1441273  PMID: 6426653
14.  Joint and limb symptoms in children after immunisation with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;304(6834):1075-1078.
OBJECTIVE--To assess whether the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine increases the incidence of joint and limb symptoms in young children. DESIGN--Comparison of six week recalled incidence of symptoms in two groups of children: children who had been immunised at the start of the six weeks, and children eligible for immunisation but who had not received it. SETTING--South Manchester Health Authority. SUBJECTS--2658 children immunised during July 1989-February 1990 and 2359 not yet immunised. Questionnaires were returned for 1846 immunised children and 1075 not immunised. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Recalled rate of joint and limb episodes determined by postal questionnaire and later by clinical follow up. RESULTS--Compared with non-immunised children the immunised group had an increased incidence of new episodes (relative risk 1.6 (95% confidence interval (1.2 to 2.1)) and first ever episodes, though this was not significant (1.7 (0.3 to 3.5)). The risk of first episodes was increased in girls (3.5 (1.1 to 12.2)) but not in boys (1.0 (0.4 to 2.6)). Similarly, an increased risk was seen in children aged under 5 (12.0 (1.6 to 92.3)) but not in older children (0.7 (0.3 to 1.5)). Most episodes were mild and self limiting, but three immunised children required hospital referral. CONCLUSION--Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is associated with an increased risk of episodes of joint and limb symptoms, especially in girls and children under 5. The risk of frank arthritis is substantially less than after wild rubella infection.
PMCID: PMC1881909  PMID: 1586818
15.  Reasons for non-uptake of measles, mumps, and rubella catch up immunisation in a measles epidemic and side effects of the vaccine. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1995;310(6995):1629-1632.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the reasons for poor uptake of immunisation (non-immunisation) and the possible side effects of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine in a catch up immunisation campaign during a community outbreak of measles. DESIGN--Descriptive study of reasons for non-immunisation and retrospective cohort study of side effects of the vaccine. SETTING--Secondary schools in South Glamorgan. SUBJECTS--Random cluster sample of the parents of 500 children targeted but not immunised and a randomised sample of 2866 of the children targeted. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Reasons for non-immunisation; symptoms among immunised and non-immunised children. RESULTS--Immunisation coverage of the campaign was only 43.4% (7633/17,595). The practical problems experienced included non-return of consent forms (6698/17,595), refusal of immunisation (2061/10,897 forms returned), and absence from school on day of immunisation (1203/8836 children with consent for immunisation). The most common reasons cited for non-immunisation were previous measles infection (145/232), previous immunisation against measles (78/232), and concern about side effects (55/232). Symptoms were equally common among immunised and non-immunised subjects. However, significantly more immunised boys than non-immunised boys reported fever (relative risk 2.31 (95% confidence interval 1.36 to 3.93)), rash (2.00 (1.10 to 3.64), joint symptoms (1.58; 1.05 to 2.38), and headache (1.31 (1.04 to 1.65)). CONCLUSIONS--Many of the objections raised by parents could be overcome by emphasising that primary immunisation does not necessarily confer immunity and that diagnosis of measles is unreliable. Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is safe in children aged 11-15.
PMCID: PMC2550008  PMID: 7795447
16.  The effects of immunisation upon the natural history of pertussis. A family study in the Cardiff area. 
During an outbreak of pertussis in the Cardiff area in 1974, 229 children with the disease were studied to assess the effect of immunisation upon its natural history and severity. The typical clinical features of pertussis, such as paroxysmal cough, whooping, vomiting, cyanosis, and irregular breathing, were less prevalent in both the immunised and the older children. Immunisation is the main factor in protecting against complications such as fits; and, together with older age, it protects against hospitalisation. Nevertheless, pertussis today can be just as severe as it was 40 years ago, and the vaccine remains the major factor ameliorating its natural history. The immunisation programme needs more active support by all child health workers.
PMCID: PMC1060945  PMID: 711979
17.  Study of children not immunised for measles. 
The results of a survey of the 165 children born in 1980 in a population served by a health centre showed that 42 were not immunised against measles. The reasons for non-immunisation included 18 refusals (usually on the grounds of incorrect contraindications) and 19 defaulters (where the children were not brought for immunisation). Twenty of the children had contracted measles by March 1984. Among the 19 defaulters 12 had been registered with the health centre since age six months or under. Their average number of consultations a year was four. None of the 42 children had Department of Health and Social Security recommended contraindications to measles immunisation.
PMCID: PMC1415612  PMID: 3922509
18.  Symptoms after accelerated immunisation. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;304(6841):1534-1536.
OBJECTIVE--To document the incidence of symptoms after accelerated immunisation with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. DESIGN--Controlled study of children immunised with adsorbed diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine at accelerated and standard schedules. SETTING--Colchester and north Hertfordshire. SUBJECTS--107 children scheduled to receive immunisation at 2, 3, and 4 months of age and 115 children scheduled to receive immunisation at 3, 4 1/2 to 5, and 8 1/2 to 11 months of age. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Parentally recorded symptoms, axillary temperatures, and size of local redness and swelling at the injection site during the seven days after immunisation. RESULTS--In general symptoms occurred less frequently with the accelerated schedule. Proportions of parents reporting axillary temperatures greater than 37.2 degrees C or local redness or swelling greater than 2.5 cm after the third dose of vaccine were significantly reduced in the accelerated schedule group. CONCLUSION--Immunisation at 2, 3, and 4 months of age is likely to cause fewer reactions than immunisation at 3, 4 1/2 to 5, and 8 1/2 to 11 months of age.
PMCID: PMC1882405  PMID: 1628051
19.  Measles, mumps, and rubella: the need for a change in immunisation policy. 
There is growing evidence that the present policy of childhood immunisation in the United Kingdom is inadequate. It is unlikely ever to achieve complete eradication of the congenital rubella syndrome and measles, and the problem of mumps has not even begun to be addressed. After a coordinated campaign to increase uptake of immunisation in Fife the uptake of rubella immunisation in teenage girls increased from 75% in 1981 to 94% in 1985 and the uptake of measles vaccination in preschool children from 55% in 1981 to 81% in 1985. There are a few girls each year who do not accept rubella immunisation, whose immune state is unknown, and who are consequently at risk of rubella during future pregnancies. Despite the increased uptake of measles vaccine over the past four years there is currently an epidemic of measles in Fife, with 544 notified cases in the first quarter of 1986. In 1984, 19 Fife residents were admitted to hospital because of complications of mumps. The time is ripe for a complete reassessment of the national immunisation policy.
PMCID: PMC1340503  PMID: 3087495
20.  Immunogenicity and safety of PRP-T conjugate vaccine given according to the British accelerated immunisation schedule. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1992;67(4):475-478.
The immunogenicity and safety of a new Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine, PRP-T, was studied in 107 infants from the Oxford district. The vaccine was given concurrently with diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio vaccines at 2, 3, and 4 months of age. Symptoms after immunisation were recorded by a parent. Sera were obtained before the first immunisation and at 5 months of age and the antibodies were measured by both radioimmunoassay and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). No serious adverse reactions were observed and there was no increase in the incidence of expected minor side effects. By radioimmunoassay, the geometric mean titre of serum anticapsular antibody increased from 0.09 micrograms/ml before immunisation to 5.01 micrograms/ml after three immunisations. Ninety eight per cent of children had antibody concentrations consistent with protection (greater than or equal to 0.15 micrograms/ml). IgG antibody concentrations measured by ELISA correlated well with total antibody concentrations measured by radioimmunoassay (r = 0.864). These results provide encouragement that routine immunisation against H influenzae type b at 2, 3, and 4 months of age, could prevent most cases of disease in children in the UK.
PMCID: PMC1793337  PMID: 1580674
21.  A comparison of populations vaccinated in a public service and in a private hospital setting in the same area 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:278.
Background
Improving immunisation rates in risk groups is one of the main objectives in vaccination strategies. However, achieving high vaccination rates in children with chronic conditions is difficult. Different types of vaccine providers may differently attract high risk children.
Aim
To describe the characteristics of two populations of children who attended a private and a public immunisation provider in the same area. Secondarily, to determine if prevalence of patients with underlying diseases by type of provider differs and to study if the choice of different providers influences timeliness in immunisation.
Methods
We performed a cross-sectional study on parents of children 2 – 36 months of age who attended a private hospital immunisation service or a public immunisation office serving the same metropolitan area of Rome, Italy. Data on personal characteristics and immunisation history were collected through a face to face interview with parents of vaccinees, and compared by type of provider. Prevalence of underlying conditions was compared in the two populations. Timeliness in immunisation and its determinants were analysed through a logistic regression model.
Results
A total of 202 parents of children 2–36 months of age were interviewed; 104 were in the public office, and 98 in the hospital practice. Children immunised in the hospital were more frequently firstborn female children, breast fed for a longer period, with a lower birthweight, and more frequently with a previous hospitalisation. The prevalence of high risk children immunised in the hospital was 9.2 vs 0% in the public service (P = 0.001). Immunisation delay for due vaccines was higher in the hospital practice than in the public service (DTP, polio, HBV, and Hib: 39.8% vs 22.1%; P = 0.005). Anyway multivariate analyses did not reveal differences in timeliness between the public and private hospital settings.
Conclusion
Children with underlying diseases or a low birthweight were more frequently immunised in the hospital. This finding suggests that offering immunisations in a hospital setting may facilitate vaccination uptake in high risk groups. An integration between public and hospital practices and an effort to improve communication on vaccines to parents, may significantly increase immunisation rates in high risk groups and in the general population, and prevent immunisation delays.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-278
PMCID: PMC2531109  PMID: 18684316
22.  Immunisation status in inner London primary schools. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1992;67(10):1288-1291.
In one inner London district health authority, the immunisation status of children attending their routine school entry health interview was reviewed over four terms. During the course of these interviews, school nurses completed a questionnaire with parents that asked for their child's immunisation history and details of family and social background. Parental reporting of immunisation history was compared with district health authority records. Only 56% of children reviewed were found to be fully immunised, although a substantial number (386) of the 513 partially immunised children required only a preschool booster. Four percent (54) of the children had received no immunisations; a disproportionately high number of these were recent immigrants. Mechanisms for identifying unimmunised children before they enter communal groups need to be established.
PMCID: PMC1793914  PMID: 1444531
23.  Failure to vaccinate against whooping cough. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1986;61(4):382-387.
We describe a prospective study in which we investigated why children fail to get vaccinated against whooping cough, including an assessment of the attitudes of parents and professionals and the impact of different views of the contraindications. There was considerable disagreement among the professionals on the interpretation of the contraindications to immunisation, and the commonest reason for omitting pertussis vaccine was advice from the doctor based on dubious contraindications. When faced with parents anxious about the risks of immunisation health professionals are unable to find reassurance in the list of contraindications to immunisation.
PMCID: PMC1777774  PMID: 3707190
24.  Is childhood immunisation associated with atopic disease from age 7 to 32 years? 
Thorax  2006;62(3):270-275.
Background
There is ongoing conjecture over whether childhood immunisation leads to an increased risk of developing atopic diseases.
Objective
To examine associations between childhood immunisation and the risk of atopic disease.
Method
Immunisation histories of 8443 Tasmanian children born in 1961 obtained from school medical records were linked to the Tasmanian Asthma Study. Associations between immunisation status and atopic diseases were examined while adjusting for possible confounders using multiple logistic regression.
Results
Diphtheria immunisation was weakly associated with an increased risk of asthma by age 7 years (odds ratio (OR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1 to 1.7), but there was no evidence of any association for four other vaccinations studied. An increased risk of eczema by age 7 years was associated with immunisation against diphtheria (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.1), tetanus (OR 1.5, 95% CI, 1.1 to 2.0), pertussis (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.9) and polio (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.9) but not small pox. Similar but slightly weaker patterns of association were observed between the risk of food allergies and immunisation against diphtheria (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.1), pertussis (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.1 to 1.9), polio (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.1) and tetanus (OR 1.30 95% CI 0.99 to 1.70), but not with small pox. There was no evidence of associations between immunisation history and hay fever, or incidence of later‐onset atopic outcomes.
Conclusions
The few effects seen in this study are small and age‐dependent, and nearly all our findings support numerous previous studies of no effect of vaccines on asthma. Based on these findings, the fear of their child developing atopic disease should not deter parents from immunising their children, especially when weighed against the benefits.
doi:10.1136/thx.2006.062547
PMCID: PMC2117158  PMID: 17090571
25.  Is a single dose of meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine sufficient for protection? experience from the Netherlands 
Background
The first meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) conjugate vaccine was licensed in 1999 and introduced in the United Kingdom. Countries that have implemented the MenC vaccine since then in their national immunisation programmes use different schedules. Nevertheless, all involved countries seem to experience substantial declines in the incidence of MenC disease.
Discussion
Since 2001, the MenC conjugate vaccine has been implemented in the Netherlands by offering a single dose to all children aged 14 months. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine into the national immunisation programme, a catch-up vaccination campaign was initiated in which a single dose of the MenC conjugate vaccine was offered to all children aged from 14 months up to and including 18 years. Since then, there has been no report of any case of MenC disease among immunocompetent vaccinees. Administration of a single dose of MenC conjugate vaccine after infancy could be beneficial considering the already complex immunisation schedules with large numbers of vaccinations in the first year of life. The present paper deals with the advantages and critical aspects of a single dose of the MenC conjugate vaccine.
Summary
A single dose of MenC conjugate vaccine at the age of 14 months in combination with a catch up vaccine campaign appeared to be a successful strategy to prevent MenC disease in the Netherlands, thereby confirming that a single dose of the vaccine could sufficiently protect against disease. Nevertheless, this approach can only be justified in countries with a relatively low incidence of serogroup C meningococcal disease in the first year of life. Furthermore, a good surveillance programme is recommended for timely detection of vaccine breakthroughs and outbreaks among non-vaccinees, since long-term protection after a single dose in the second year of life cannot currently be guaranteed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-35
PMCID: PMC3293716  PMID: 22316426

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