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Meningitis: low uptake of MenACWY vaccine by school leavers in London scrutinised

Study suggests a systematic approach in general practice for catch-up immunisation programme for 18-20 year olds needed

Study suggests a systematic approach in general practice for catch-up immunisation programme for 18-20 year olds needed


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A rapid rise of invasive meningococcal disease in adolescents and young adults resulted in the 2015 immunisation programme for meningococcal ACWY in England.

This vaccine replaced a previous one (MenC) for 13-14 year olds. A catch-up programme through general practice, usually by practice nurses, is also offered to 18 year olds, university freshers and under 25s. The national uptake by 18 year olds was 29%, but only 18% in London in 2016-17. 

This qualitative study aimed to understand from the perspective of the nurse vaccinators why the rate was so low and how it could be improved.

Barriers

Ten practice nurses in three areas of London participated in semi-structured interviews. A range of systems in the practices were identified, from active practice nurse co-ordination of the programme to minimal opportunistic vaccination.

Barriers to achieving higher rates were:

  • Lack of practice level incentives to support proactive targeting.
  • Lack of a national campaign addressed to school leavers (and their parents) identifying their risk and action needed.
  • Confusion over who the target group were.
  • The extent of the practice’s responsibility. 

The findings suggest there needs to be a systematic approach more broadly and in general practice for such catch-up programmes.


Reference


Compiled by Vari Drennan, professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston and St George’s, University of London

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