To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications for public health of the proposal to remove the free provision of travel vaccinations for diphtheria, polio and tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera; and whether this will create a particular risk for people travelling to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Government has not undertaken any consultation on proposals to remove free provision of travel vaccination. However, on 21 July 2017, NHS England started a three month consultation on guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) entitled Items which should not routinely be prescribed in primary care: A Consultation on guidance for CCGs. A copy of the consultation is attached.
The consultation document contains a section on travel vaccines. This sought to ensure that travel vaccines that are not currently commissioned in the National Health Service are not administered by the NHS for the purposes of travel in error. This relates to hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis ACWY, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis, rabies and BCG.
The consultation closed on 21 October. NHS England is currently analysing the responses it has received and will publish the final guidance in due course, which will ensure that, among other things, the principles of best practice on clinical prescribing are adhered to.
In this consultation document, NHS England asked Public Health England (PHE) to conduct a review of travel vaccines currently available on the NHS to assess their appropriateness for prescribing on the NHS. This relates to diphtheria/tetanus/polio, typhoid, hepatitis A and cholera.
PHE has not yet started this review. It will be an initial assessment of the need and value of a more in-depth look at travel vaccination policy. The public health implications of any potential policy change will be a key consideration.