Too few school nurses to administer proposed flu vaccination programme, experts say

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 26 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5108
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Flu vaccination is to be extended to all children aged between 2 and 17, at a cost of £100m (€127m; $155m) a year. But how the vaccine will be administered, and by whom, remains uncertain, and the evidence underpinning the decision is unpublished.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), whose recommendation has been endorsed by health secretary Andrew Lansley, admits that severe logistical difficulties need to be overcome first.

They include the supply of the vaccine, the attitude of parents, the shortage of school nurses who would otherwise provide the best mode of delivery for children between 5 and 17 years, and the possibility that extending the programme could disrupt existing flu vaccination for over 65s and those in high risk groups.

Despite these issues, the committee believes that the evidence shows the proposal to be cost effective. In a statement published on 25 July on its website, it says that the study from the Health Protection Agency and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine provided “a suitable and robust basis for informing immunisation policy.”1

But David …

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