NICE in drive to increase paediatric vaccinations

Amid concerns that millions of children are unprotected against potentially lethal diseases, NICE has published a new draft quality standard setting out how to drive up the number of under-19s who receive vaccinations.

NICE said that in some areas, fewer than one in 10 children is vaccinated against diseases such as polio and diphtheria.

Unless uptake rates improve there is a risk these diseases could make a comeback. Last year only a quarter of local authorities met World Health Organization targets to vaccinate 95% of children against measles, mumps, and rubella.

A new NICE quality standard includes five statements setting out priorities to drive up the number of immunisations given to children and young people.

Parents or carers of children who miss immunisation appointments should be followed up by telephone or with a text, as this makes them more likely to rebook.

NICE said that young offenders, who are less likely to be immunised than those not in contact with the criminal justice system, should have their records checked for missed vaccinations.

Anyone under 19 found to have missed a jab in any setting should be offered one immediately or referred to a service that can provide them.

Health visitors and nurses may be able to check if children had missed vaccinations during their usual reviews at the start of school or college, NICE proposed.

NICE is consulting on the standard via its website and the final quality standard is expected to be published in January.

NICE recommends funding for Xofigo in new patient group

In a separate decision, NICE recommended Bayer’s prostate cancer drug, Xofigo (radium-223 dichloride) after the manufacturer provided new cost-effectiveness data for patients for whom docetaxel is not suitable.

NICE had previously recommended radium-223 for people who had already received docetaxel.

But NICE had rejected Xofigo in patients who cannot receive docetaxel, and the Cancer Drugs Fund had previously paid for the drug in this group.

But NICE is reassessing all the drugs that were previously on the fund and decided to recommend NHS funding for prostate cancer in docetaxel intolerant patients, as long as a previously agreed discount is in place.

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