vaccinePublic Health England has published its Vaccine Update, with the latest polices, procedures and developments covering topics ranging from gelatine in vaccines to a freshers’ MenC jab.

Many pregnant women have been reluctant to get a pertussis vaccination, which protects babies from whooping cough. It is important for health practitioners to offer reassurance on why it is important, as it has been proven to offer protection until babies have their first jab at two months old. A Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency study of 20,000 vaccinated women, found no evidence of any adverse risks in pregnancy. Ideally it should be given between week 28 and 32.

Also, thanks to seven successful pilot studies, the nasal flu vaccine given to children aged between four and ten is to be extended. Further details are to be published in the next edition of Vaccine Update. There is also a campaign to vaccinated student freshers against meningitis C, as the meningococcal C infection spreads quickly where young adults are living closely together.

The MenC programme was first introduced in 1999 and 2000 for babies, with a catch-up campaign for those aged 18, now extended to include those aged up to 25. Protection declines faster for those who had the jab at a younger age - those born after 1995, who were under five when the campaign started. These children are now teenagers, aged 15 to 18, and many will be entering university. And children and younger teenagers - those vaccinated after 1999/2000 - will get a MenC booster, so by 2019, when immunity decreases, this booster means they will no longer need a freshers’ vaccination.

The Update will also have a monthly myth-buster about vaccinations. This month’s is the belief that having the flu jab causes flu - it doesn’t, as the viruses in the vaccine have been inactivated. The vaccine may be associated with mild flu-like symptoms, but certainly not a serious bout.

To read the full update, as well as web links and list of vaccine supplies, visit: www.gov.uk/government/publications/vaccine-update-issue-211-january-2014