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1.
J Infect ; 2022 Jan 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788130

ABSTRACT

Background COVID-19 vaccines approved in the UK are highly effective in general population cohorts, however, data on effectiveness amongst individuals with clinical conditions that place them at increased risk of severe disease are limited. Methods We used GP electronic health record data, sentinel virology swabbing and antibody testing within a cohort of 712 general practices across England to estimate vaccine antibody response and vaccine effectiveness against medically attended COVID-19 amongst individuals in clinical risk groups using cohort and test-negative case control designs. Findings There was no reduction in S-antibody positivity in most clinical risk groups, however reduced S-antibody positivity and response was significant in the immunosuppressed group. Reduced vaccine effectiveness against clinical disease was also noted in the immunosuppressed group; after a second dose, effectiveness was moderate (Pfizer: 59.6%, 95%CI 18.0-80.1%; AstraZeneca 60.0%, 95%CI -63.6-90.2%). Interpretation In most clinical risk groups, immune response to primary vaccination was maintained and high levels of vaccine effectiveness were seen. Reduced antibody response and vaccine effectiveness were seen after 1 dose of vaccine amongst a broad immunosuppressed group, and second dose vaccine effectiveness was moderate. These findings support maximising coverage in immunosuppressed individuals and the policy of prioritisation of this group for third doses.

2.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 2022 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764066

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Reinfection after primary SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon in adults, but little is known about the risks, characteristics, severity, or outcomes of reinfection in children. We aimed to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in children and compare this with the risk in adults, by analysis of national testing data for England. METHODS: In our prospective, national surveillance study to assess reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 in children in England, we used national SARS-CoV-2 testing data to estimate the risk of reinfection at least 90 days after primary infection from Jan 27, 2020, to July, 31, 2021, which encompassed the alpha (B.1.1.7) and delta (B.1.617.2) variant waves in England. Data from children up to age 16 years who met the criteria for reinfection were included. Disease severity was assessed by linking reinfection cases to national hospital admission data, intensive care admission, and death registration datasets. FINDINGS: Reinfection rates closely followed community infection rates, with a small peak during the alpha wave and a larger peak during the delta wave. In children aged 16 years and younger, 688 418 primary infections and 2343 reinfections were identified. The overall reinfection rate was 66·88 per 100 000 population, which was higher in adults (72·53 per 100 000) than children (21·53 per 100 000). The reinfection rate after primary infection was 0·68% overall, 0·73% in adults compared with 0·18% in children age younger than 5 years, 0·24% in those aged 5-11 years, and 0·49% in those aged 12-16 years. Of the 109 children admitted to hospital with reinfection, 78 (72%) had comorbidities. Hospital admission rates were similar for the first (64 [2·7%] of 2343) and second episode (57 [2·4%] of 2343) and intensive care admissions were rare (seven children for the first episode and four for reinfections). There were 44 deaths within 28 days after primary infection (0·01%) and none after reinfection. INTERPRETATION: The risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is strongly related to exposure due to community infection rates, especially during the delta variant wave. Children had a lower risk of reinfection than did adults, but reinfections were not associated with more severe disease or fatal outcomes. FUNDING: UK Health Security Agency.

3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730660

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We aimed to quantify the unknown losses in health-related quality of life of COVID-19 cases using quality-adjusted life days (QALDs) and the recommended EQ-5D instrument in England. METHODS: Prospective cohort study of non-hospitalised, PCR-confirmed SARSCoV2(+) cases aged 12-85 years and followed up for six months from 01 December 2020, with cross-sectional comparison to SARSCoV2() controls. Main outcomes were QALD losses; physical symptoms; and COVID-19-related private expenditures. We analysed results using multivariable regressions with post-hoc weighting by age and sex, and conditional logistic regressions for the association of each symptom and EQ-5D limitation on cases and controls. RESULTS: Of 548 cases (mean age 41.1 years; 61.5% female), 16.8% reported physical symptoms at month 6 (most frequently extreme tiredness, headache, loss of taste and/or smell, and shortness of breath). Cases reported more limitations with doing usual activities than controls. Almost half of cases spent a mean of £18.1 on non-prescription drugs (median: £10.0), and 52.7% missed work or school for a mean of 12 days (median: 10). On average, all cases lost 13.7 (95%-CI: 9.7, 17.7) QALDs, while those reporting symptoms at month 6 lost 32.9 (24.5, 37.6) QALDs. Losses also increased with older age. Cumulatively, the health loss from morbidity contributes at least 18% of the total COVID-19-related disease burden in England. CONCLUSIONS: One in 6 cases report ongoing symptoms at 6 months, and 10% report prolonged loss of function compared to pre-COVID-19 baselines. A marked health burden was observed among older COVID-19 cases and those with persistent physical symptoms.

4.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 405, 2022 02 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700444

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In March 2020, England went into its first lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions eased temporarily, followed by second and third waves in October 2020 and January 2021. Recent data showed that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in reduced transmission of some invasive diseases. We assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pertussis incidence and on the immunisation programme in England. METHODS: We assessed trends in pertussis cases from 2012 to 2020 by age group and month. Incidence from the time that England eased its initial lockdown measures in July 2020 through to summer 2021 was calculated and the incidence rate ratios of pertussis cases from five years prior to the pandemic (July 2014 - June 2019) compared to the same time period during the pandemic (July 2020 - June 2021). Vaccine coverage estimates for pertussis containing vaccines were reviewed for the maternal and childhood programmes. RESULTS: A substantial decline in pertussis cases was observed from April 2020 onwards, marking the lowest number of cases in the last decade. Pertussis incidence dropped in all age groups, particularly among infants less than one year old (0.50 / 100,000 during July 2020 to June 2021 compared to 24.49/ 100,000 from July 2014 to June 2019). The incidence rate ratio was 0.02 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.02) for July 2014 to June 2019 (pre-pandemic) compared to the pandemic period of July 2020 to June 2021. None of the cases had a co-infection with SARS-CoV-2. Vaccine coverage for infants born between January to March 2020 with three doses of pertussis vaccine by 12 months of age decreased by 1.1% points compared to infants born between January to March 2019 (91.6% and 92.7%, respectively). Prenatal pertussis coverage for the 2020 to 2021 financial year was 2.7% points lower than the year prior to the pandemic (70.5% and 76.8%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Lockdown measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on pertussis transmission. With the easing of restrictions it is important to continue monitoring pertussis cases in England alongside coverage of the maternal and childhood immunisation programmes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Whooping Cough , Bordetella pertussis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pertussis Vaccine , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Whooping Cough/epidemiology , Whooping Cough/prevention & control
5.
J Infect ; 84(4): 542-550, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683338

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to look at the burden of disease caused by SARS-COV-2 reinfections and identified potential risk factors for disease severity. METHODS: We used national surveillance data to collect information on all SARS-CoV-2 primary infection and suspected reinfection cases between January 2020 until early May 2021. Reinfection cases were positive COVID-19 PCR or antigen test, 90 days after their first COVID-19 positive test. We collected information on case demographics, hospital and ICU admission, immunisation status and if individuals were at risk of complication for COVID-19. RESULTS: Deaths reported within 28 days of testing positive were 61% (95% confidence interval: 56% to 65%) lower in suspected COVID-19 reinfection than primary infection cases. In the unvaccinated cohort, reinfections were associated with 49% (37% to 58%) lower odds of hospital admission in cases aged 50 to 65 years in the population not identified at risk of complication for COVID-19, and 34% (17% to 48%) in those at risk. ICU admission at reinfection compared to primary infection decreased 76% (55% to 87%). Individuals at risk and those aged below 50 years, who received at least 1 dose of vaccine against COVID-19, were 62% (39% to 74%) and 58% (24% to 77%) less likely to get admitted to hospital at reinfection, respectively. CONCLUSION: Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with lower odds of dying, and both prior infection and immunisation showed a protective effect against severe disease in selected populations. Older age, sex and underlying comorbidities appeared as principal risk factors for illness severity at reinfection. FUNDING: PHE/UKHSA.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Reinfection/epidemiology , Severity of Illness Index
6.
Obstetric Medicine ; : 1753495X221076713, 2022.
Article in English | Sage | ID: covidwho-1673622

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19 vaccines are protective against disease. Pregnant women benefit from vaccination as they are at higher risk of poor maternal and neonatal outcomes following infection.MethodsFollowing regulatory approval of two COVID-19 vaccines in the United Kingdom, a rapid national study of vaccination in pregnancy was instituted using three existing safety surveillance platforms: UKOSS, UKTIS and VIP. This preliminary report describes the data collected up to the 15th June 2021.ResultsThere were 971 reports of COVID-19 vaccination in the UKOSS/UKTIS (n?=?493) and VIP (n?=?478) monitoring systems describing 908 individual pregnancies. Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccination was most common (n?=?501, 55.2%), most women were vaccinated in their second or third trimester (n?=?566, 62.3%), and were mainly vaccinated due to occupational infection risk (n?=?577, 63.5%).ConclusionObstetric outcome data will be obtained by December 2021. However, women should not delay vaccination whilst awaiting further safety data to emerge.

7.
J Infect ; 2022 Feb 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665191

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There are limited data on immune responses to heterologous COVID-19 immunisation schedules, especially following an extended ≥12-week interval between doses. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 infection-naïve and previously-infected adults receiving ChAd-BNT (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, AstraZeneca followed by BNT162b2, Pfizer-BioNTech) or BNT-ChAd as part of the UK national immunisation programme provided blood samples at 30 days and 12 weeks after their second dose. Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) of anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike (S-antibody) and nucleoprotein (N-antibody) IgG antibodies and geometric mean ratios (GMR) were compared with a contemporaneous cohort receiving homologous ChAd-ChAd or BNT-BNT. RESULTS: During March-October 2021, 75,827 individuals were identified as having received heterologous vaccination, 9,489 invited to participate, 1,836 responded (19.3%) and 656 were eligible. In previously-uninfected adults, S-antibody GMC at 30 days post-second dose were lowest for ChAd-ChAd (862 [95% CI, 694 - 1069]) and significantly higher for ChAd-BNT (6233 [5522-7035]; GMR 6.29; [5.04-7.85]; p<0.001), BNT-ChAd (4776 [4066-5610]; GMR 4.55 [3.56-5.81]; p<0.001) and BNT-BNT (5377 [4596-6289]; GMR 5.66 [4.49-7.15]; p<0.001). By 12 weeks after dose two, S-antibody GMC had declined in all groups and remained significantly lower for ChAd-ChAd compared to ChAd-BNT (GMR 5.12 [3.79-6.92]; p<0.001), BNT-ChAd (GMR 4.1 [2.96-5.69]; p<0.001) and BNT-BNT (GMR 6.06 [4.32-8.50]; p<0.001). Previously infected adults had higher S-antibody GMC compared to infection-naïve adults at all time-points and with all vaccine schedules. CONCLUSIONS: These real-world findings demonstrate heterologous schedules with adenoviral-vector and mRNA vaccines are highly immunogenic and may be recommended after a serious adverse reaction to one vaccine product, or to increase programmatic flexibility where vaccine supplies are constrained.

8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297070

ABSTRACT

Background: There are limited data on immune responses to heterologous COVID–19 immunisation schedules, especially following an extended ≥12–week interval between doses. Methods: SARS–CoV–2 infection–naïve and previously–infected adults receiving ChAd–BNT (ChAdOx1 nCoV–19, AstraZeneca followed by BNT162b2, Pfizer–BioNTech) or BNT–ChAd as part of the UK national immunisation programme provided blood samples at 30 days and 12 weeks after their second dose. Geometric mean concentrations (GMC) of anti–SARS–CoV–2 spike (S-antibody) and nucleoprotein (N-antibody) IgG antibodies and geometric mean ratios (GMR) were compared with a contemporaneous cohort receiving homologous ChAd–ChAd or BNT–BNT. Results: During March–October 2021, 75,827 individuals were identified as having received heterologous vaccination, 9,489 invited to participate, 1,836 responded (19.3%) and 656 were eligible. In previously–uninfected adults, S–antibody GMC at 30 days post–second dose were lowest for ChAd–ChAd (862 (95%CI, 694– 1069)) and significantly higher for ChAd–BNT (6233 (5522– 7035);GMR 6.29;(5.04– 7.85);p<0.001), BNT-ChAd (4776 (4066– 5610);GMR 4.55 (3.56– 5.81);p<0.001) and BNT–BNT (5377 (4596– 6289);GMR 5.66 (4.49– 7.15);p<0.001). By 12 weeks after dose two, S–antibody GMC had declined in all groups and remained significantly lower for ChAd–ChAd compared to ChAd–BNT (GMR 5.12 (3.79– 6.92);p<0.001), BNT–ChAd (GMR 4.1 (2.96– 5.69);p<0.001) and BNT–BNT (GMR 6.06 (4.32– 8.50);p<0.001). Previously infected adults had higher S–antibody GMC compared to infection–naïve adults at all time–points and with all vaccine schedules. Conclusions: These real–world findings demonstrate heterologous schedules with adenoviral–vector and mRNA vaccines are highly immunogenic and may be recommended after a serious adverse reaction to one vaccine product, or to increase programmatic flexibility where vaccine supplies are constrained.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296846

ABSTRACT

Background Reinfection after primary SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon in adults, but little is known about the risks, characteristics, severity or outcomes of reinfection in children. Methods We used national SARS-CoV-2 testing data in England to estimate the risk of reinfection ≥90 days after primary infection from 01 January 2020 to 31 July 2021, which encompassed both the Alpha and Delta waves in England. Disease severity was assessed by linking reinfection cases to national hospitalisation, intensive care admission and death registrations datasets. Findings Reinfection rates closely followed community infection rates, with a small peak during the Alpha wave and a larger peak during the Delta wave. In children aged ≤16 years, there were 688,418 primary infections and 2,343 reinfections. The overall reinfection rate was 66·88/100,000 population, being higher in adults (72.53/100,000) than in children (21·53/100,000). Reinfection rates after primary infection were 0·68% overall, 0·73% in adults and 0·34% in children. Of the 109 reinfections in children admitted to hospital, 78 (72%) had underlying comorbidities. Hospitalisation rates were similar for the first (64/2343, 2·73%) and second episode (57/2343, 2·43%). Intensive care admission was rare after primary infection (n=7) or reinfection (n=4), mainly in children with comorbidities. 44 deaths occurred after primary infection within 28 days of diagnosis (44/688,418, 0·01%), none after possible reinfections. Interpretation The risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is strongly related to exposure due to community infection rates, especially during the Delta variant wave. Children had a lower risk of reinfection than adults, but reinfections were not associated with more severe disease or fatal outcomes. Funding PHE/UKHSA Research in Context Evidence Before this study We searched PubMed with the terms “COVID-19” or “SARS-CoV-2” with “reinfection” to identify publications relating to SARS-CoV-2 reinfections from 01 January until 15 November 2021. There were few publications relating to SARS-CoV-2 reinfections, and these primarily related to adults. Published studies reported very low rates of reinfection during the first few months after primary infection in adults. COVID-19 vaccines provide effective immune protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection, but recent studies have reported increasing risk of breakthrough infection with time since primary vaccination due to waning immunity. Several SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the beta, gamma and delta variants have been shown to partially evade immunity after natural infection and vaccination, potentially increasing the risk of reinfections and breakthrough infections, respectively. Data on reinfections in children are lacking and restricted mainly to case reports in immunocompromised children. Added Value of This Study We used national SARS-CoV-2 testing data during the first 19 months of the pandemic to estimate the risk of reinfection in children compared to adults during a period that encompassed both the Alpha and the Delta variant waves in England. We found that the risk of reinfection correlated with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and therefore, closely reflected community infection rates, with most reinfections occurring during the Delta variant wave. Whilst acknowledging the limitation of using national testing data, we found that children had a lower risk of reinfection compared to adults and that the risk of reinfection in children increased with age. Reinfections were not associated with severe disease in terms of hospitalization or intensive care admission and there were no fatalities within 28 days of the reinfection episode in children. Implications of all the Available Evidence SARS-CoV-2 reinfections are rare in children, especially younger children, and occurred mainly during the Delta wave in England. Reinfections were not associated with more severe disease or fatal outcomes in children. COVID-19 vaccinati n will provide further protection against primary infections and reinfections in children.

10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(9): 2495-2497, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1435933

ABSTRACT

Invasive meningococcal disease incidence in England declined from 1.93/100,000 persons (1,016 cases) in 2010-11 to 0.95/100,000 (530 cases) in 2018-19 and 0.74/100,000 in 2019-20 (419 cases). During national lockdown for the coronavirus disease pandemic (April-August 2020), incidence was 75% lower than during April-August 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Meningococcal Infections , Meningococcal Vaccines , Neisseria meningitidis , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Meningococcal Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Euro Surveill ; 26(28)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315940

ABSTRACT

Adults receiving heterologous COVID-19 immunisation with mRNA (Comirnaty) or adenoviral-vector (Vaxzevria) vaccines had higher reactogenicity rates and sought medical attention more often after two doses than homologous schedules. Reactogenicity was higher among ≤ 50 than > 50 year-olds, women and those with prior symptomatic/confirmed COVID-19. Adults receiving heterologous schedules on clinical advice after severe first-dose reactions had lower reactogenicity after dose 2 following Vaxzevria/Comirnaty (93.4%; 95% confidence interval: 90.5-98.1 vs 48% (41.0-57.7) but not Comirnaty/Vaxzevria (91.7%; (77.5-98.2 vs 75.0% (57.8-87.9).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
13.
Vaccine ; 39(32): 4500-4509, 2021 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283615

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: An unexpected resurgence of pertussis cases and infant deaths was observed in some countries that had switched to acellular pertussis vaccines in the primary immunisation schedule. In response to the outbreaks, maternal pertussis vaccination programmes in pregnant women have been adopted worldwide, including the USA in 2011 and the UK in 2012. Following the success of the programme in England, we evaluated the health and economic impact of stopping versus continuing the maternal pertussis immunisation to inform public health policy making. METHODS: We used a mathematical model to estimate the number of infant hospitalisations and deaths related to pertussis in England over 2019-2038. Losses in quality-adjusted life years, QALYs, were considered for infants (aged 0-2 months) who survived or died from pertussis, bereaved parents (of infants who died from pertussis), and women with pertussis (aged 20-44 years). Direct medical costs to the National Health Service included infant hospitalisations, maternal vaccinations, and disease in women. Costs and QALYs were discounted at 3.5%. Changes in the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, ICER, were explored in sensitivity analyses. RESULTS: The model supports continuing the maternal pertussis immunisation programme as a cost-effective intervention at an ICER of £14,500/QALY (2.5% and 97.5%-quantile: £7,300/QALY to £32,400/QALY). Stopping versus continuing the maternal programme results in an estimated mean of 972 (range 582 to 1489) versus 308 (184 to 471) infant hospitalisations annually. Results were most sensitive to the number of hospitalisations and deaths when stopping the maternal programme. At a cost-effectiveness threshold of £30,000/QALY, the probability of the maternal programme being cost-effective was 96.2%. CONCLUSION: Our findings support continuing the maternal pertussis vaccination programme as otherwise higher levels of disease activity and infant mortality are expected to return. These results have led policy makers to decide to continue the maternal programme in the UK routine immunisation schedule.


Subject(s)
Whooping Cough , Cost-Benefit Analysis , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunization Programs , Infant , Pregnancy , Quality-Adjusted Life Years , State Medicine , Vaccination , Whooping Cough/epidemiology , Whooping Cough/prevention & control
14.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(9): 2495-2497, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1291846

ABSTRACT

Invasive meningococcal disease incidence in England declined from 1.93/100,000 persons (1,016 cases) in 2010-11 to 0.95/100,000 (530 cases) in 2018-19 and 0.74/100,000 in 2019-20 (419 cases). During national lockdown for the coronavirus disease pandemic (April-August 2020), incidence was 75% lower than during April-August 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Meningococcal Infections , Meningococcal Vaccines , Neisseria meningitidis , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Meningococcal Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Euro Surveill ; 26(11)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1181332

ABSTRACT

BackgroundA multi-tiered surveillance system based on influenza surveillance was adopted in the United Kingdom in the early stages of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic to monitor different stages of the disease. Mandatory social and physical distancing measures (SPDM) were introduced on 23 March 2020 to attempt to limit transmission.AimTo describe the impact of SPDM on COVID-19 activity as detected through the different surveillance systems.MethodsData from national population surveys, web-based indicators, syndromic surveillance, sentinel swabbing, respiratory outbreaks, secondary care admissions and mortality indicators from the start of the epidemic to week 18 2020 were used to identify the timing of peaks in surveillance indicators relative to the introduction of SPDM. This timing was compared with median time from symptom onset to different stages of illness and levels of care or interactions with healthcare services.ResultsThe impact of SPDM was detected within 1 week through population surveys, web search indicators and sentinel swabbing reported by onset date. There were detectable impacts on syndromic surveillance indicators for difficulty breathing, influenza-like illness and COVID-19 coding at 2, 7 and 12 days respectively, hospitalisations and critical care admissions (both 12 days), laboratory positivity (14 days), deaths (17 days) and nursing home outbreaks (4 weeks).ConclusionThe impact of SPDM on COVID-19 activity was detectable within 1 week through community surveillance indicators, highlighting their importance in early detection of changes in activity. Community swabbing surveillance may be increasingly important as a specific indicator, should circulation of seasonal respiratory viruses increase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Epidemiological Monitoring , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , United Kingdom/epidemiology
16.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(2): e24341, 2021 02 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1090464

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are commencing their 54th season of collaboration at a time when SARS-CoV-2 infections are likely to be cocirculating with the usual winter infections. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to conduct surveillance of influenza and other monitored respiratory conditions and to report on vaccine uptake and effectiveness using nationally representative surveillance data extracted from primary care computerized medical records systems. We also aim to have general practices collect virology and serology specimens and to participate in trials and other interventional research. METHODS: The RCGP RSC network comprises over 1700 general practices in England and Wales. We will extract pseudonymized data twice weekly and are migrating to a system of daily extracts. First, we will collect pseudonymized, routine, coded clinical data for the surveillance of monitored and unexpected conditions; data on vaccine exposure and adverse events of interest; and data on approved research study outcomes. Second, we will provide dashboards to give general practices feedback about levels of care and data quality, as compared to other network practices. We will focus on collecting data on influenza-like illness, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, and suspected COVID-19. Third, approximately 300 practices will participate in the 2020-2021 virology and serology surveillance; this will include responsive surveillance and long-term follow-up of previous SARS-CoV-2 infections. Fourth, member practices will be able to recruit volunteer patients to trials, including early interventions to improve COVID-19 outcomes and point-of-care testing. Lastly, the legal basis for our surveillance with PHE is Regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002; other studies require appropriate ethical approval. RESULTS: The RCGP RSC network has tripled in size; there were previously 100 virology practices and 500 practices overall in the network and we now have 322 and 1724, respectively. The Oxford-RCGP Clinical Informatics Digital Hub (ORCHID) secure networks enable the daily analysis of the extended network; currently, 1076 practices are uploaded. We are implementing a central swab distribution system for patients self-swabbing at home in addition to in-practice sampling. We have converted all our primary care coding to Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) coding. Throughout spring and summer 2020, the network has continued to collect specimens in preparation for the winter or for any second wave of COVID-19 cases. We have collected 5404 swabs and detected 623 cases of COVID-19 through extended virological sampling, and 19,341 samples have been collected for serology. This shows our preparedness for the winter season. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a groundswell of general practices joining our network. It has also created a permissive environment in which we have developed the capacity and capability of the national primary care surveillance systems and our unique public health institute, the RCGP and University of Oxford collaboration.


Subject(s)
Clinical Protocols , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Male , Middle Aged , Population Surveillance/methods , Public Health , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , United Kingdom
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