ABPI responds to launch of Government’s Prevention Green Paper

The UK Government has launched its Prevention Green Paper which includes plans for a Vaccination Strategy to maintain and develop Britain’s world-leading immunisation programme.

23 Jul 2019 Posted in News By Press Office

Advancing our health: prevention in the 2020s, sees the Department of Health and Social Care re-affirm the value of vaccinations as one of the most cost-effective health interventions. Vaccines save lives, protect vulnerable groups and reduce disability, as well as reduce pressure on the NHS and improve productivity.

However, while the Government says it will explore ‘making better use of existing assets – across both the public and private sectors – to promote the prevention agenda’, the consultation doesn't look at the importance of early diagnosis and intervention with medicines in preventing disease progression. 

Responding to the announcement, Dr Paul Catchpole, at the ABPI, said:

“Vaccines are one of the most effective health interventions we have, and the UK already sets itself apart as a county that values vaccines. But we can’t afford to be complacent. Britain must be ambitious and make sure people can get access to the most effective vaccines as soon as they’re available.

“However, while it’s is good to the see the Government’s commitment to immunisation in this Green Paper, we think the focus needs to be much broader and look at the value medicines bring to the prevention agenda. For example, identifying and treating undiagnosed patients with long-term disease like pre-diabetes and COPD, and helping reduce the long-term costs of these conditions. We will work with our members to highlight these issues with Government.”

The ABPI will be working with stakeholders over the coming months to broaden the discussion on prevention and we look forward to details of the forthcoming Vaccination Strategy.

Immunisation and a 2020 Vaccination Strategy

The Green Paper says the Government will aim to publish a Vaccination Strategy in Spring 2020 and that it will include action on:

  • Operational work to increase uptake of all recommended vaccinations across all communities and areas, to include the medium-term aim of reaching over 95% uptake for childhood vaccinations and continuing to increase uptake of the seasonal influenza vaccine. This includes implementing the UK measles and rubella elimination strategy to increase uptake of the second dose of the MMR vaccine to at least 95%, to match the aspiration for the first dose.
  • Enhanced use of local immunisation co-ordinators and primary care networks, ensuring the right mechanisms are in place to increase uptake (through the GP Vaccines review) including consistent application of call and recall, and improved data services.
  • Continued evolution of our immunisation programme, incorporating new, more effective and cost-effective vaccines and new uses for existing vaccines across the life course, as advised by our expert group, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The Government has also committed to emphasising the preventative value of vaccines at every opportunity to ensure that people have the facts they need, and that vaccine misinformation is addressed as effectively as possible.

Future vaccines will be able to prevent even more diseases that place a heavy burden on the population currently, saving the NHS more money in the longer term.

The Government will need to commit to necessary levels of investment in vaccination both to improve coverage today and secure access to vaccinations in the future.

With over 260 vaccines in the global pipeline, we are now reaching a critical point where the UK can take a lead role in the elimination of more diseases.

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