• Differences in national influenza vaccination policies across the European Union, Norway and Iceland 2008-2009.

      Mereckiene, J; Cotter, S; D'Ancona, F; Giambi, C; Nicoll, A; Levy-Bruhl, D; Lopalco, P L; Weber, J T; Johansen, K; Dematte, L; et al. (2010)
      In 2009 the second cross-sectional web-based survey was undertaken by the Vaccine European New Integrated Collaboration Effort (VENICE) project across 27 European Union (EU) member states (MS), Norway and Iceland (n=29) to determine changes in official national seasonal influenza vaccination policies since a survey undertaken in 2008 and to compare the estimates of vaccination coverage between countries using data obtained from both surveys. Of 27 responding countries, all recommended vaccination against seasonal influenza to the older adult population. Six countries recommended vaccination of children aged between six months and <18 years old. Most countries recommended influenza vaccination for those individuals with chronic medical conditions. Recommendations for vaccination of healthcare workers (HCW) in various settings existed in most, but not all countries. Staff in hospitals and long-term care facilities were recommended vaccination in 23 countries, and staff in out-patient clinics in 22 countries. In the 2009 survey, the reported national estimates on vaccine coverage varied by country and risk group, ranging from 1.1% - 82.6% for the older adult population; to between 32.9% -71.7% for clinical risk groups; and from 13.4% -89.4% for HCW. Many countries that recommend the influenza vaccination do not monitor the coverage in risk groups. In 2008 and 2009 most countries recommended influenza vaccination for the main risk groups. However, despite general consensus and recommendations for vaccination of high risk groups, many countries do not achieve high coverage in these groups. The reported vaccination coverage still needs to be improved in order to achieve EU and World Health Organization goals.
    • Is hospital based MMR vaccination for children with egg allergy here to stay?

      Hawkes, C P; Mulcair, S; Hourihane, J O B; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC, Immunisation Clinic, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2010-01)
      Egg allergy is incorrectly considered to constitute a contraindication to MMR in the community, despite a long history of its safe administration to egg allergic children. The product insert perpetuates this misinformation but the Irish guidelines from the RCPI are unequivocal. We reviewed all paediatric cases vaccinated in our hospital in 2007-2008. Forty seven of 91 children receiving vaccinations in hospital, had been referred for MMR due to concerns regarding egg allergy. In 32% (n=15), GP referral for vaccination was made despite correspondence from the clinic advising routine vaccination in the community. Nineteen were second MMR immunisations, which should all have occurred in the community. Unnecessary hospital referral for MMR vaccination is an extra burden on hospital resources, and causes unwarranted anxiety amongst parents of children with egg allergy. A change in practice seems difficult to achieve, as many referrals happen despite individualised correspondence to GPs and other referring clinicians outlining the current guidelines.
    • Uptake of newly introduced universal BCG vaccination in newborns.

      Braima, O; Rigney, A; Ryan, C A; Murphy, C; Department of Neonatology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork. (2010-06)
      Universal neonatal BCG vaccination was discontinued in Cork in 1972. Following an outbreak of TB in 2 creches in the HSE South, a universal BCG vaccination program was re-introduced in October 2008. The aim of this study was to determine the vaccination process (in-hospital and community) and the in-hospital uptake of the vaccine. Following informed parental consent, babies of birth weight > 2.5 Kg were eligible for in-hospital vaccination if they were not: febrile, jaundiced on phototherapy, on antibiotics and if not born to HIV- positive mothers. Parents of babies not vaccinated in-hospital were asked to book an appointment in either of the 2 Cork community clinics. The immunisation nurse collected data on BCG vaccination, prospectively. This study examined vaccination uptakes in-hospital and community over a 6 month period (October 2008 to March 2009). There were 4018 deliveries during the study period. In-hospital consent was declined in only 16 babies (<1%) while the in-hospital vaccination uptake was 80% of total liv births. Although 635 newborns were admitted to the NICU, only 46 (8%) were vaccinated while in the NICU. At least 48% of planned community vaccination has been achieved to date. In conclusion, in-hospital consent was almost universal and vaccination uptake was satisfactory. NICU exclusion criteria accounted for a significant proportion of non-vaccination in-hospital. These criteria need to be readdressed considering that all premature babies are given other routine newborn vaccines at 2 months of age, regardless of weight.