Vaccine-preventable disease susceptibility in a British paediatric assessment unit
Allen L., Vickerstaff H., Collinson A.
© The Author(s) 2014. Aims: To evaluate practice within a paediatric secondary- care centre before and after introduction of simple interventions to improve identification of under-immunised children and facilitate catch-up immunisations. Methods: The population-based child health database was used to check immunisation status for two cohorts of 200 consecutive admissions before and after routine printing of immunisation histories from the database and raising staff awareness. Vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) susceptibility burdens were calculated for each child. Case notes were assessed for accuracy and documentation of ward-based interventions. Results: Fourteen per cent of all children were underimmunised on admission and 27% of these were more than five years behind schedule. Under-immunised children’s VPD susceptibility burdens ranged from 0–40,858 days and in 59% exceeded 1,000 days. Over one month the paediatric admission unit saw children with a combined VPD susceptibility burden of 1,323 child-years. Positive identification of under-immunised children increased by 40% (95% confidence interval: 12–62, p=0.002) following the introduction of routine database printouts. Conclusion: Children presenting to British secondary care units have large VPD susceptibility burdens. Positive identification of under-immunised children substantially improved after the introduction of routine database printouts, but catch-up immunisation rates did not increase.