In September 2021, Public Health England released new rules surrounding the timing of BCG vaccination, increasing the minimum age of vaccination to 28 days. This has been implemented in line with a pilot disease screening programme that tests eligible newborns for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID), the outcome of which becomes available by the time the baby is 6 weeks old. It is important that we wait for the result of this test before giving the BCG vaccine.
What is SCID screening?
All newborn babies in the UK are currently offered blood spot screening (heel prick test) that looks for 9 rare diseases, including sickle cell and cystic fibrosis. The NHS is considering introducing an additional test for Severe Immunodeficiency (SCID), a name given to a group of rare, inherited disorders that cause major abnormalities in the immune system. Affected infants have an increased risk of life-threatening infections and will normally become severely unwell in the first few months of life. Without treatment they will rarely live past their first birthday. About 14 babies a year are born in England with SCID.
The evaluation of this testing, which began on 6th September 2021, is taking place in 6 areas across England and will cover around 60% of new born babies. It is running alongside the existing blood spot screening and the intention is to roll it out nationally once the 2 year evaluation has been made.
Why does this affect the BCG vaccination?
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is a live attenuated vaccine that can cause problems if given to an immunocompromised person. Treatment for SCID is more complicated if the child has received the BCG vaccine, so it is important that if your child has been tested. We wait for a negative result before vaccinating.
What we need from you:
If your child was included in the SCID programme, you will need to provide a letter that confirms the negative result of screening.
If your child was born outside of the programme areas and therefore, not included in the SCID programme, we will need to see a letter confirming this.
In either case, please bring the letter with you to your appointment, as well as your child’s vaccination book.
Nb. If your child was born before 1st September 2021, before the programme was introduced, no letter will be needed.
For more information on:
Other Childhood Vaccinations
Some infections can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. Research suggests that the flu, in particular strains such as H1N1 (swine flu), can significantly increase the risk of complications to expecting mothers and their unborn babies.
Vaccinating expecting mothers against flu or before pregnancy can provide the newborn baby with significant ‘passive’ protection – which can last several weeks after birth. This is important because babies cannot be vaccinated themselves until they are 6 months old. So, a mother’s vaccination is strongly advised.
Fleet Street Clinic are urging all the mums-to-be to have the vaccine. The Quadrivalent Flu Jab can be safely given at any point during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus. Pregnant women are at risk of complications from the flu at any stage of pregnancy. So therefore, it is important for those expecting to get their flu jab as early as possible.
If you are currently planning your pregnancy, it would be sensible to consider getting your flu jab prior to becoming pregnant.
The flu vaccine can safely be given to pregnant women at the same time as the whooping cough vaccine. You can have the whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks onwards.
The vaccine is inactivated, and cannot cause flu itself.
Having the flu vaccine is the best protection.
If you are interested in booking flu vaccinations for your staff, visit flujabs.org for more information and to get a quote.
ESSENTIAL CHICKENPOX VACCINE FACTS:
- The chickenpox vaccine is not given by the NHS, but is part of the childhood vaccination schedule in other countries
- Chickenpox is a highly contagious infection caused by the varicella zoster virus
- In the UK, it mostly affects children
- It can be itchy and uncomfortable, can leave scars, and can sometimes cause severe disease – adults may suffer more serious symptoms, including pneumonia
- Chickenpox is spread by inhaling droplets coughed up by people infected with the virus
- People with chickenpox become contagious about 2 days before the appearance of the rash, which can make it difficult to avoid infection
- The chickenpox vaccine (varicella vaccine) can be administered from the age of twelve months onwards
- Two doses of vaccine are needed, with a 4 week gap between doses
- If your child is receiving the MMR vaccination or a Yellow Fever vaccine, the varicella vaccination must either be given on the same day, or 4 weeks later
HOW TO BOOK A VACCINATION APPOINTMENT
Fleet Street Clinic is dedicated to maintaining a good supply of the chickenpox vaccine.
Our private chickenpox vaccine service is undertaken by doctors and nurses with long experience of vaccinating children. Our family friendly clinic is sympathetic to parents’ needs and concerns, and we welcome any vaccine-related queries. We operate a Saturday vaccination clinic once a month, the next will be held on Saturday April 8th.
To book your chickenpox vaccination for yourself or your child, you can book online now.
Measles: Don’t Get Caught Out
Cases of measles have risen rapidly in recent months in Europe, United Kingdom but most recently, Brazil. Measles is a highly contagious virus with potential for serious complications. It is a serious viral infection, spread by airborne droplets and is highly infectious. It is recommended that two doses of the measles vaccination should be given to individuals to prevent infection. Although many countries include the vaccination as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule, international travellers should check that they are immune before departure.
Most UK citizens will have immunity in one of two ways:
Natural immunity can be assumed for those born before 1970, where individuals would have been exposed to the infection naturally.
Having received two doses of vaccination against measles. The vaccination was introduced in 1970 and is usually given in combination with rubella and mumps as the MMR vaccine.
Initial symptoms can include:
- Runny nose
- High Temperature
- Spots in the mouth
- Aches and pains
- Sore eyes and swollen eyelids
A rash appears after 2-4 days which can present as blotchy spots, often starting at the head and progressing down.
Advice for Adults
If you are in doubt about whether you have immunity to measles, a simple blood test can be taken to determine your immunity status. If you have no immunity to measles, you can be offered the MMR vaccination.
Advice for Children
Infants normally receive the MMR vaccination at 13 months old, as part of the national schedule. However, if you are travelling to a country where there is a significant risk of infection, the vaccination can be given to infants from 6 months.
If you think you may be suffering from measles, or are concerned about the risk of infection when travelling, please see your doctor straight away.
The Fleet Street Clinic stocks travel sickness medication, travel vaccines and medical travel kits. Our experienced travel clinic nurses can help advise with any queries or more information on Measles.