Antibiotics: Drug Resistance

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Labour, Cambridge

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his policy paper Tackling antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024: the UK's 5-year national action plan, whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the UK’s childhood vaccination programme on levels of anti-microbial resistance in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

‘Tackling antimicrobial resistance (2019-24): The UK’s five-year national action plan’, recognises that immunisation is one of the most effective public health interventions to prevent infection in humans and animals.

Vaccination programmes have been successful and cost-effective in helping avert millions of cases of childhood illness, with large reductions in cases of serious infections. By reducing the burden of infection, vaccine programmes play an important role in reducing levels of antibiotic prescribing and therefore the selective pressure for the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

The childhood pneumococcal vaccine programme has led to declines in some antibiotic resistant clones of pneumococcus that are covered by the PCV13 vaccine. Also, the influenza vaccination programme helps to reduce the use of and requirement for antibiotics by reducing cases of respiratory illness and of secondary bacterial pneumonia.

In addition, the new Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) Healthcare Associated Infections Working Group, set up to review and provide preliminary advice to JCVI on the potential use of appropriate vaccines in the United Kingdom, will help to address this issue.

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