Immunisation/vaccine preventable diseases
After clean water, vaccination is the most effective public health intervention in the world for saving lives and promoting good health.
The childhood vaccination programme has been a tremendous success in Northern Ireland over recent years. Our uptake rates are at an all-time high and Northern Ireland has uptake rates well above the UK average.
This is a tremendous tribute to GPs and all their staff, health visitors and everyone else involved in the vaccination programme who have worked so hard to achieve this.
The seasonal flu vaccine programme is also very successful, with Northern Ireland achieving the highest uptake in the UK.
The areas covered by the vaccination team include childhood vaccines, influenza vaccines, travel vaccines, occupational health vaccines, and the surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases.
Key areas of ongoing work
- Maintaining and improving high uptake of the childhood vaccines particularly targeting areas / groups with comparatively low uptake
- Training of health professionals and students in vaccination programmes
- Introducing new vaccine programme updates
- Managing the flu vaccine programme to achieve target uptake rates
- Building on recently introduced HPV vaccine programme
- Screening health care workers for measles immunity and vaccinating those not immune
- Providing advice to health professionals through the duty room
- Responding to cases of vaccine preventable diseases
Hepatitis B: temporary recommendations during supply constraints
Update on 23 August 2017
There is currently a global shortage of hepatitis B vaccine, which is impacting on the UK supply. Limitations on supply are likely to continue until early 2018.
The PHA and Department of Health are working with their equivalent organisations across the UK to ensure stock is available for those individuals at highest and most immediate risk of exposure to hepatitis B. The Chief Medical Officer HSS (MD) 12/2017 letter issued on 28 July, and updated on 18 August, details the temporary recommendations to support clinicians undertaking an individual risk assessment: www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/hss-md-15-2017.pdf
The situation is dynamic and likely to change frequently. On 22 August 2017, Public Health England updated the guidance referenced in the CMO letter to include information on:
- what to do if patients present with exposure incidents in sites where there is no vaccine
- advice to flag individuals in whom vaccination is deferred so they can be vaccinated at a later date.
Any future guidance published will be available here and will replace existing web links.
Please note, these supply constraints do not affect the hexavalent vaccine (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB) due to be used in the routine childhood immunisation programme.
HPV vaccine for men who have sex with men (MSM)
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is offered to all eligible men who have sex with men (MSM) attending GUM and/or HIV clinics across Northern Ireland. Most of the clinics began offering the HPV vaccine during October 2016 and all clinics have been offering the vaccine since January 2017.
This is in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which recommends a targeted vaccination programme for MSM aged up to 45 who attend GUM and HIV clinics.
Studies have shown that MSM aged up to 45 years who attend GUM or HIV clinics are at greater risk of HPV-associated cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine helps prevent infection that can cause genital warts and HPV-associated cancers. Vaccination is especially important for MSM who have multiple sexual partners.
Immunisation update training videos and PowerPoint slides for 2017 are now available below.
Flu training for health professionals
|Vaccine type||Information for public||Information for healthcare professionals|
|General professional information|
Immunisations for infants (aged under 1 year) and children (aged 1–2 years)
Includes: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hepatitis B, Hib, MMR, Men B, Men C, pneumococcal, rotavirus, BCG, influenza
|Childhood immunisation programme|
Pre-school immunisations (aged 2–4 years)
Includes: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, MMR
Immunisations for 12–18 year olds
Includes: Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, MenACWY, MMR, HPV
|PHA resources on HPV vaccine for girls in Year 9 and 10||Factsheet on HPV vaccine for girls in Year 9 and 10|
|MenACWY||Factsheet on MenACWY immunisation for teenagers|
Pertussis (whooping cough)Includes: Infants, pre-school aged children and pregnant women
|Rotavirus||Factsheet on rotavirus immunisation|
|Targeted programmes||Information for public||Information for healthcare professionals|
Includes: Universal hepatitis B programme and hepatitis B vaccine for at risk babies
|Clinical guidelines on hepatitis B|
Includes: Children, adults, pregnant women and healthcare workers
Includes: Men who have sex with men (MSM)
Includes: Flu, pertussis, MMR, hepatitis B and syphilis advice
|PHA resources on immunisations for pregnant women|
|Shingles||PHA resources on shingles vaccination for older people|
Includes: MenACWY, pneumococcal, flu
Travel vaccines (National Travel and Health Network, Travax)
|NHS advice on travel vaccinations|
Travel vaccines sites:
Immunisation leaflets (Northern Ireland)
Vaccination surveillance data
NOIDS surveillance data
Annual Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Report for NI 2016/2017
Annual Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Report for NI 2015/2016