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Found 18 results
  1. News Article
    Having flu and COVID-19 together significantly increases your risk of death, say government scientists who are urging all those at risk of getting or transmitting flu to get the vaccine in the coming weeks and months. The evidence for the double whammy is currently limited and comes mostly from a study with small numbers – 58 people – carried out in the UK during the early phase of the pandemic. “As I understand it, it’s 43% of those with co-infection died compared with 26.9% of those who tested positive for Covid only,” said England’s deputy chief medical officer, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam. These were people who had been hospitalised and had been tested for both viruses, he said, and so were very ill – but the rate of death from Covid alone in the study between January and April was similar to the known rate of Covid hospital mortality generally of around 25% or 26%. "I think it is the relative difference in size of those rates that’s rather more important than the absolute rate,” he said. The study may have been small and they would be doing further studies this season, but the findings tallied with other work that has been done, he said. “If you get both, you are in some serious trouble, and the people who are most likely to get both of these infections may be the very people who can least afford to in terms of their own immune system, or their risk for serious outcomes. So please protect yourself against flu, this year,” says said Prof Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England The government has bought 30,000,000 doses of flu vaccine, which is more than ever before. They will arrive in batches, so the elderly – over 65 – and those with medical conditions will be called for immunisation first. Relatives of those who are on the shielding list will also be called up. The letters will begin to go out this week. Because of the threat of Covid and the risk that people with flu could be infected if admitted to hospital, all those aged 50-64 will be offered flu vaccination, but not straight away. They should wait to be called by their GP. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 September 2020
  2. Content Article
    The taskforce carefully considered an extensive range of issues in relation to the social care sector as a whole, brought together as key themes. These included the provision of personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing arrangements, the winter flu vaccination programme, infection prevention and control, and issues of funding. The taskforce examined a number of issues relating to the workforce and family carers (unpaid), including how best to restrict the movement of people between care and health settings. Among other themes, the taskforce reviewed the role of clinical support within the sector, the availability and application of insights from data, and implications of inspection and regulation. This report sets out the action that will need be taken to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the sector, both for those who rely on care and support, and the social care workforce. This report sets out how we can enable people to live as safely as possible while maintaining contacts and activity that enhance the health and wellbeing of service users and family carers. Throughout this report, a number of recommendations are made based on learning from the first phase of the pandemic. They range from 'quick wins' to consideration of topics that will require a degree of more substantial change and/or additional resource. In addition, there are a number of supporting recommendations in the annexed reports of the subject-specific advisory groups, which should be considered in tandem with the main report recommendations.
  3. Community Post
    The UK government is seeking views on proposed changes to the Human Medicine Regulations 2012 to help with the safe and efficient distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and expanded flu vaccine programme in the UK, along with treatments for COVID-19 and any other diseases that become pandemic. Ministers say there will be no shortcut on safety or effectiveness, and that any vaccine will be approved for the UK only if it meets the highest standards. The deputy chief medical officer for England, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, said: “If we develop effective vaccines, it’s important we make them available to patients as quickly as possible but only once strict safety standards have been met. The proposals consulted on today suggest ways to improve access and ensure as many people are protected from Covid-19 and flu as possible without sacrificing the absolute need to ensure that any vaccine used is both safe and effective.” What do you think? Are there patient safety concerns here? We'd love to hear your views. Comment below.
  4. Content Article
    The consultation covers: authorising temporary supply of an unlicensed product civil liability and immunity expanding the workforce eligible to administer vaccinations promoting vaccines making provisions for wholesale dealing of vaccines. You can access the consultation documentation via the link below. Respond online
  5. News Article
    The development of a promising COVID-19 vaccine has been put on hold due to an adverse reaction in a trial participant. A spokesman for AstraZeneca, the company working with a team from Oxford University, told the Guardian the trial has been stopped to review the “potentially unexplained illness” in one of the participants. The spokesman stressed that the adverse reaction was only recorded in a single participant and said pausing trials was common during vaccine development. “As part of the ongoing randomised, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” the spokesman said. “This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials. In large trials illnesses will happen by chance but must be independently reviewed to check this carefully." “We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimise any potential impact on the trial timeline. We are committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our trials.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 9 September 2020
  6. News Article
    An 'expanded workforce' will be delivering flu and a potential COVID-19 vaccine, under proposals unveiled by the Government today. The three-week consultation also focuses on a proposal of mass vaccinations against COVID-19 using a yet-to-be-licensed vaccine, if one becomes available this year. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is hoping new legislation could come into effect by October, ahead of the winter season. The consultation proposes to amend the Human Medicine Regulations 2012 to "expand the workforce legally allowed to administer vaccines under NHS and local authority occupational health schemes, so that additional healthcare professionals in the occupational health workforce will be able to administer vaccines". It said this would include 'midwives, nursing associates, operating department practitioners, paramedics, physiotherapists and pharmacists'. The consultation said: "This will help ensure we have the workforce needed to deliver a mass COVID-19 vaccination programme, in addition to delivery of an upscaled influenza programme, in the autumn." The consultation also said that "there is a possibility that both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine will be delivered at the same time, and we need to make sure that in this scenario there is sufficient workforce to allow for this". Read full story Source: Pulse, 28 August 2020
  7. News Article
    Complacency over the flu jab risks overwhelming the NHS, experts warn, as data reveals the scale of the challenge in expanding the vaccination programme. Last month, the government announced plans to double the number of people who receive the influenza jab. But BBC analysis has found the take-up rate among people in vulnerable groups eligible for a free jab has declined. Health secretary Matt Hancock said he did not want a flu outbreak "at the same time as dealing with coronavirus". The government wants to increase the number of people vaccinated from 15 million to 30 million amid fears coronavirus cases will rise again in the autumn. Local authorities in England saw an average 45% of people with serious health conditions under 65 take up the offer of a free vaccine last winter, data shows. That represents a drop from 50% in 2015. The UK government has an ambition to vaccinate 55% of people in vulnerable groups, which includes people with multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes or chronic asthma. The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said countries should vaccinate 75% of people in "vulnerable" categories. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 August 2020
  8. News Article
    Any new and effective Covid vaccine will be given emergency approval for use in the UK and an expanded workforce will be trained to give the injections to immunise as much of the population as possible quickly, the government has said. A change in the law will allow the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to grant temporary approval for a vaccine from October, before it has been given a licence by the European authorities, which would be the normal procedure. The UK will be out of the EU from January and will approve drugs and vaccines without Brussels’ involvement. Ministers say there will be no shortcut on safety or effectiveness, and that any vaccine will be approved for the UK only if it meets the highest standards. The deputy chief medical officer for England, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam, said: “We are making progress in developing COVID-19 vaccines, which we hope will be important in saving lives, protecting healthcare workers and returning to normal in future. “If we develop effective vaccines, it’s important we make them available to patients as quickly as possible but only once strict safety standards have been met. The proposals consulted on today suggest ways to improve access and ensure as many people are protected from Covid-19 and flu as possible without sacrificing the absolute need to ensure that any vaccine used is both safe and effective.” The MHRA has the power to grant an unlicensed medicine or a vaccine temporary authorisation where a product is proven safe and effective and in the best interest of the patient on the basis of available evidence. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 28 August 2020
  9. News Article
    The coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University induces a strong immune response and appears to be safe, according to preliminary trial results. The early stage trial, which involved 1,077 people, has found that the vaccine trains the immune system to produce antibodies and white blood cells capable of fighting the virus. It also causes few side effects. Professor Sarah Gilbert, co-author of the Oxford University study, described the findings as promising but said there “is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the Covid-19 pandemic”. The results came as the UK secured 90 million doses of other promising Covid-19 vaccines, while clinical trials of a new inhaled coronavirus treatment showed it significantly reduced the number of hospitalised patients needing intensive care. Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 July 2020
  10. News Article
    The initial data on a trial of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University will be released in the coming week, The Lancet medical journal has announced amid reports its findings have been promising. The development of a vaccine to fight against the virus has been touted as pivotal in returning the world to life as it was before the pandemic by protecting vulnerable people and building up immunity among populations. Now Oxford University’s contribution - one of the world’s leading candidates for a viable vaccine – is understood to have made promising results in initial testing. Read full story Source: The Independent, 16 July 2020
  11. News Article
    New data has shown the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospital and intensive care units across the country has risen as lockdown rules are set to be eased further on Monday. The Public Health England (PHE) data, published on Friday, covers 134 NHS trusts across the country and shows the daily rate of new patients admitted to hospital and critical care with COVID-19 has risen compared to recent weeks, with London experiencing a sharp spike in new admissions in the past week. The south east region also saw an increase. The surveillance data on the spread of COVID-19 throughout England has also revealed an increase in the number of people testing positive at their GP. Read full story Source: Independent, 31 May 2020
  12. News Article
    Pharmacy leaders in the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities have expressed concern that assessments of BAME staff’s susceptibility to COVID-19 are not widespread enough in community pharmacy. NHS England wrote to community pharmacies on 29 April 2020 advising employers to “risk assess staff at potentially greater risk” of COVID-19 after “emerging UK and international data” suggested people from BAME backgrounds are “being disproportionately affected”. The Faculty of Occupational Medicine later published a risk reduction framework — backed by NHS England — to assist with the risk assessments on 14 May 2020. This was updated on 28 May 2020 to include guidance from the Health and Safety Executive to “help organisations identify who is at risk of harm”. But speaking to The Pharmaceutical Journal, Elsy Gomez Campos, president of the UK Black Pharmacists’ Association (UKBPA), said she had been told by a small number of community pharmacists that “nothing has been done” in terms of risk assessing BAME staff. “I know of a few people who have been assessed and that is mainly in hospital,” she said. “In terms of community pharmacists — who I’ve had contact with so far — they haven’t even been asked to have the risk assessment done.” However, she stressed that not many from the community pharmacy sector have come forward, but “the people who have come forward have said no, it has not been done”. “People are quite scared to ask as well because it can have repercussions on their employment or their relationships [at work],” she added. Read full story Source: The Pharmaceutical Journal, 29 May 2020
  13. News Article
    The risk of dying from coronavirus is more than twice as great in the most deprived areas of England – with the disparity largest for women, analysis shows. A study by the Health Foundation of deaths from COVID-19 showed women in the most deprived parts of the country had a risk of dying that was 133% higher than those in the least deprived neighbourhoods. Between men the difference in risk was 114% higher in worse-off areas, suggesting that while deprivation is a key factor in risk of death from coronavirus for both sexes, its effect is worse for women. Experts say the evidence shows the impact of COVID-19 is falling disproportionately on the poorest in society. Mai Stafford, principal data analyst at the Health Foundation, told The Independent: “This pandemic could and should be a watershed moment in creating the social and political will to build a society that values everyone’s health now and in the long term. Without significant action, there is a real risk that those facing the most disadvantage will eventually pay the highest price.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 21 May 2020
  14. News Article
    Global efforts to vaccinate children against fatal diseases such as measles and polio could be set back a decade due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Unicef has warned. Immunisation campaigns and routine vaccine services have been suspended across the world to limit the transmission of COVID-19, leaving countries with weak health systems susceptible to a resurgence in preventable illnesses once lockdown restrictions are lifted and societies reopen. More than 25 vulnerable countries have placed their immunisation programmes for measles on hold, while the delivery of Ebola vaccinations across central Africa, in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR), has similarly been suspended or curtailed. “Our immediate concern is with disruption to currently available vaccines,” Dr Robin Nandy, global chief of immunisation at Unicef, told The Independent. “We expect to go back maybe five to 10 years. The longer the disruptions continue, the more concerned we are as it builds the number of susceptible kids in populations. “What we’re trying to avoid is countries recovering from the current Covid pandemic then being hit by another outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 18 May 2020
  15. Content Article
    Editor in chief, Nicholas Thompson, hosted a Facebook Live with ER doctor turned co-founder Caesar Djavaherian, who now serves as the chief medical officer of his telehealth company, Carbon Health. This was the first in a series of four conversations presented by Salesforce in which WIRED will explore what the coronavirus pandemic means for the future of business, education, technology, and health.
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