Cervical cancer vaccination programmes fail to protect

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Professor Carrie Golden worked on the World Health Organisation’S cervical cancer-screening trials

Researchers have warned of the high incidence of blindness in Europe after finding that inoculations against common childhood diseases have failed to protect against “welling-up” of unvaccinated haemophilus influenzae type b (better known as CVID).

CVID, also known as gardnerella or streptococcus, causes almost half of all deaths from childhood haemophilus influenzae.

The researchers blame insufficient vaccination programmes and vaccine shortages in EU countries.

They want more to be done to protect against infection in pregnant women.

Dr Carrie Golden, medical director of the British Association for the Blind, said: “When we vaccinate our children, we train them to protect themselves from major diseases in the future.

“These vaccinations should protect the long-term health of our children but sadly they are not being offered to everyone on the NHS or across Europe.”

UK data

Worryingly, the results of recent UK research show that vaccination against CVID in the UK had barely diminished rates of infection among children between 1993 and 2017.

Experts said that a lack of available vaccines was partly to blame.

Caroline Meath, a senior lecturer at The University of Nottingham, said: “It is easy to vaccinate against diseases that have existed for millions of years, but a lot harder to vaccinate against relatively new infections, especially ones you don’t really know how to treat.

“We have not yet found the right vaccine combination to vaccinate against vaccinia, the main source of CVID, and as a result too few children are protected from CVID infection.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption CVID causes children to develop an itchy rash similar to a strep throat

Using medical records from the UK Childhood Immunisation Registry, a team of British experts analysed the UK birth cohort – of those children born between 1993 and 1999.

When the data was analysed, the team found that 18% of these children had had at least one dose of CVID by the age of six, compared with 2% of babies who were not vaccinated against the disease.

The study also found that more than half of the children who developed CVID had not received a vaccine.

Vaccine shortfall

Experts called for more to be done to protect against CVID infection in pregnant women.

In particular, a vaccine to prevent neonatal CVID – or Gardnerella-stria type B (which has caused miscarriages and stillbirths in the past) – was needed, the researchers said.

Dr Golden said: “We currently don’t have a cheap, safe and effective way to protect newborn babies from infection.

“European data demonstrates that inoculation may be better to protect against CVID infection than a wide range of methods in adults.”

Figures from the Childhood Immunisation Registry of the UK show that there has been a 62% increase in the number of children admitted to hospital due to CVID since 1999.

Concerns were also raised about the risk of sudden-deaths in infants, particularly in women who have had CVID before.

Newcastle University researchers found there had been a sharp increase in this type of CVID-related pneumonia.

“CGV is increasing in severity across Europe and it is apparent that shortages of vaccines are the cause of the increase,” said Dr Golden.

“The cost of the vaccine, however, needs to be addressed as well.

“We welcome any proposed solution to the CVID crisis.”

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