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3.
BMJ Open Ophthalmol ; 7(Suppl 2): A3, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20241143

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, eye banks around the world had to assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection in potential ocular tissue donors and decide how to characterise donors to meet ongoing demand for tissue for transplantation.NHSBT eye banks normally issue cornea grafts for over 4000 transplants per annum (pre-pandemic). SARS-CoV2 RNA screening is not a requirement for eye donor characterisation. Donor authorisation is based on review of donor medical and contact history and any available COVID test results (e.g. from hospital testing or as part of organ donor characterisation). After retrieval, globes are disinfected with PVP-iodine, and corneas stored in organ culture.This presentation explores the impact of COVID-19 on corneal donation and transplantation in England. METHODS: UK Transplant Registry data were analysed on all corneal donors and transplants in England from 1 January 2020 to 2 July 2021. All laboratory confirmed SARS CoV-2 infections were collected by Public Health England from 16 March 2020. Information was available until mid-November 2021.To assess the possibility of transmission through a transplanted graft, cases with a diagnosis of infection within 14 days post transplant were identified for further review. RESULTS: 4130 corneal grafts were performed in England. We are aware of 222 recipients who tested positive for SARS-CoV2. 2 of these have been reported to have died within 28 days of testing positive. The diagnosis of SARS-CoV2 infection in these 2 recipients had been made beyond 30 days post transplant.In 3 of the 222 infected recipients, the interval between transplant and infection was within 14 days (all 3 recipients alive). 2 of the 3 donors were fully characterised organ donors (universally screened for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in upper and lower respiratory tract samples), and one was an eye only donor who had tested negative in hospital 2 days prior to death. CONCLUSIONS: The linkage of large registries allows collection of useful data in a large cohort of patients transplanted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The incidence of COVID-19 and characteristics of corneal transplant recipients who tested positive for SARS-CoV2 were found to be similar to those for the general population of England.These data have not identified any epidemiological evidence for transmission of COVID-19 through corneal transplantation, and offer reassurance about the safety and quality systems that are in place to allow ongoing corneal transplantation during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Corneal Transplantation , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pandemics , England/epidemiology
4.
Br J Community Nurs ; 28(6): 306-309, 2023 Jun 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20240987

ABSTRACT

Mental health issues are difficult yet common experiences. Considering that one in four people in England experience a mental health problem every year, it is essential that the community nurse has a good understanding of the different types of mental health problems faced by individuals, and be able to adequately provide care and support. In part one of a two-part series on mental health in the community, Sarah Palmer provides details on some of the more common mental health conditions, and the support that primary care can provide to individuals experiencing mental health issues.


Subject(s)
Mental Disorders , Mental Health , Humans , England
5.
PLoS One ; 18(6): e0286529, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20240068

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The UK was the first country to launch a national pandemic COVID-19 vaccination programme, which was implemented swiftly despite significant vaccine supply constraints. The delivery strategy used a combination of mass vaccination sites operated by NHS secondary care providers and local sites led by Primary Care Networks, and local pharmacies. Despite nation-wide rollout, persistent gaps in coverage continued to affect particular populations, including ethnic minority and marginalised social groups. AIM: The study examined sub-national immunisation commissioners and providers' perspectives on how the COVID-19 vaccine programme was operationalised, and how delivery strategies impacted inequalities in access to vaccination services and uptake. The study aimed to inform national programme implementation, sustainability and future pandemic preparedness. METHODS: Qualitative research was conducted in eight local NHS areas in 4 regions of England. Semi-structured interviews were performed with 82 sub-national NHS and public health vaccine providers and commissioners. RESULTS: England's COVID-19 vaccination programme was described as top down, centralised and highly political. The programme gradually morphed from a predominantly mass vaccination strategy into more locally driven and tailored approaches able to respond more effectively to inequalities in uptake. Over time more flexibility was introduced, as providers adapted services by "working around" the national systems for vaccine supply and appointment booking. The constant change faced by providers and commissioners was mitigated by high staff motivation and resilience, local collaboration and pragmatism. Opportunities for efficient implementation were missed because priority was given to achieving national performance targets at the expense of a more flexible sub-national tailored delivery. CONCLUSION: Pandemic vaccination delivery models need to be adapted for underserved and hesitant groups, working in collaboration with local actors. Learnings from the initial COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in England and elsewhere is important to inform future pandemic responses, in tailoring strategies to local communities, and improve large-scale vaccination programmes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , Ethnicity , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Minority Groups , England/epidemiology , Vaccination , Mass Vaccination
6.
Public Health Res (Southampt) ; 11(2): 1-185, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20239883

ABSTRACT

Background: Link worker social prescribing enables health-care professionals to address patients' non-medical needs by linking patients into various services. Evidence for its effectiveness and how it is experienced by link workers and clients is lacking. Objectives: To evaluate the impact and costs of a link worker social prescribing intervention on health and health-care costs and utilisation and to observe link worker delivery and patient engagement. Data sources: Quality Outcomes Framework and Secondary Services Use data. Design: Multimethods comprising (1) quasi-experimental evaluation of effects of social prescribing on health and health-care use, (2) cost-effectiveness analysis, (3) ethnographic methods to explore intervention delivery and receipt, and (4) a supplementary interview study examining intervention impact during the first UK COVID-19 lockdown (April-July 2020). Study population and setting: Community-dwelling adults aged 40-74 years with type 2 diabetes and link workers in a socioeconomically deprived locality of North East England, UK. Intervention: Link worker social prescribing to improve health and well-being-related outcomes among people with long-term conditions. Participants: (1) Health outcomes study, approximately n = 8400 patients; EuroQol-5 Dimensions, five-level version (EQ-5D-5L), study, n = 694 (baseline) and n = 474 (follow-up); (2) ethnography, n = 20 link workers and n = 19 clients; and COVID-19 interviews, n = 14 staff and n = 44 clients. Main outcome measures: The main outcome measures were glycated haemoglobin level (HbA1c; primary outcome), body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking status, health-care costs and utilisation, and EQ-5D-5L score. Results: Intention-to-treat analysis of approximately 8400 patients in 13 intervention and 11 control general practices demonstrated a statistically significant, although not clinically significant, difference in HbA1c level (-1.11 mmol/mol) and a non-statistically significant 1.5-percentage-point reduction in the probability of having high blood pressure, but no statistically significant effects on other outcomes. Health-care cost estimates ranged from £18.22 (individuals with one extra comorbidity) to -£50.35 (individuals with no extra comorbidity). A statistically non-significant shift from unplanned (non-elective and accident and emergency admissions) to planned care (elective and outpatient care) was observed. Subgroup analysis showed more benefit for individuals living in more deprived areas, for the ethnically white and those with fewer comorbidities. The mean cost of the intervention itself was £1345 per participant; the incremental mean health gain was 0.004 quality-adjusted life-years (95% confidence interval -0.022 to 0.029 quality-adjusted life-years); and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was £327,250 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Ethnographic data showed that successfully embedded, holistic social prescribing providing supported linking to navigate social determinants of health was challenging to deliver, but could offer opportunities for improving health and well-being. However, the intervention was heterogeneous and was shaped in unanticipated ways by the delivery context. Pressures to generate referrals and meet targets detracted from face-to-face contact and capacity to address setbacks among those with complex health and social problems. Limitations: The limitations of the study include (1) a reduced sample size because of non-participation of seven general practices; (2) incompleteness and unreliability of some of the Quality and Outcomes Framework data; (3) unavailability of accurate data on intervention intensity and patient comorbidity; (4) reliance on an exploratory analysis with significant sensitivity analysis; and (5) limited perspectives from voluntary, community and social enterprise. Conclusions: This social prescribing model resulted in a small improvement in glycaemic control. Outcome effects varied across different groups and the experience of social prescribing differed depending on client circumstances. Future work: To examine how the NHS Primary Care Network social prescribing is being operationalised; its impact on health outcomes, service use and costs; and its tailoring to different contexts. Trial registration: This trial is registered as ISRCTN13880272. Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme, Community Groups and Health Promotion (grant no. 16/122/33) and will be published in full in Public Health Research; Vol. 11, No. 2. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.


Social prescribing happens when health-care staff refer patients to a link worker. Link workers support and help patients to access community services to improve their health and well-being. Social prescribing is popular within the NHS, but there is little evidence that it works. We looked at a social prescribing model being delivered in a disadvantaged area in north-east England.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 , Humans , Adult , Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/drug therapy , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Health Personnel
7.
PLoS One ; 18(5): e0286259, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236627

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Schools are high-risk settings for infectious disease transmission. Wastewater monitoring for infectious diseases has been used to identify and mitigate outbreaks in many near-source settings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including universities and hospitals but less is known about the technology when applied for school health protection. This study aimed to implement a wastewater surveillance system to detect SARS-CoV-2 and other public health markers from wastewater in schools in England. METHODS: A total of 855 wastewater samples were collected from 16 schools (10 primary, 5 secondary and 1 post-16 and further education) over 10 months of school term time. Wastewater was analysed for SARS-CoV-2 genomic copies of N1 and E genes by RT-qPCR. A subset of wastewater samples was sent for genomic sequencing, enabling determination of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 and emergence of variant(s) contributing to COVID-19 infections within schools. In total, >280 microbial pathogens and >1200 AMR genes were screened using RT-qPCR and metagenomics to consider the utility of these additional targets to further inform on health threats within the schools. RESULTS: We report on wastewater-based surveillance for COVID-19 within English primary, secondary and further education schools over a full academic year (October 2020 to July 2021). The highest positivity rate (80.4%) was observed in the week commencing 30th November 2020 during the emergence of the Alpha variant, indicating most schools contained people who were shedding the virus. There was high SARS-CoV-2 amplicon concentration (up to 9.2x106 GC/L) detected over the summer term (8th June - 6th July 2021) during Delta variant prevalence. The summer increase of SARS-CoV-2 in school wastewater was reflected in age-specific clinical COVID-19 cases. Alpha variant and Delta variant were identified in the wastewater by sequencing of samples collected from December to March and June to July, respectively. Lead/lag analysis between SARS-CoV-2 concentrations in school and WWTP data sets show a maximum correlation between the two-time series when school data are lagged by two weeks. Furthermore, wastewater sample enrichment coupled with metagenomic sequencing and rapid informatics enabled the detection of other clinically relevant viral and bacterial pathogens and AMR. CONCLUSIONS: Passive wastewater monitoring surveillance in schools can identify cases of COVID-19. Samples can be sequenced to monitor for emerging and current variants of concern at the resolution of school catchments. Wastewater based monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 is a useful tool for SARS-CoV-2 passive surveillance and could be applied for case identification and containment, and mitigation in schools and other congregate settings with high risks of transmission. Wastewater monitoring enables public health authorities to develop targeted prevention and education programmes for hygiene measures within undertested communities across a broad range of use cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Wastewater , Public Health , Pandemics , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , England/epidemiology , RNA, Viral
8.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 17(5): e13150, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236565

ABSTRACT

There are concerns that sotrovimab has reduced efficacy at reducing hospitalisation risk against the BA.2 sub-lineage of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant. We performed a retrospective cohort (n = 8850) study of individuals treated with sotrovimab in the community, with the objective of assessing whether there were any differences in risk of hospitalisation of BA.2 cases compared with BA.1. We estimated that the hazard ratio of hospital admission with a length of stay of 2 days or more was 1.17 for BA.2 compared with BA.1 (95%CI 0.74-1.86). These results suggest that the risk of hospital admission was similar between the two sub-lineages.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Retrospective Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , England/epidemiology
9.
Epidemiol Infect ; 151: e98, 2023 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236436

ABSTRACT

Country-wide social distancing and suspension of non-emergency medical care due to the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have affected public health in multiple ways. While non-pharmaceutical interventions are expected to reduce the transmission of several infectious diseases, severe disruptions to healthcare systems have hampered diagnosis, treatment, and routine vaccination. We examined the effect of this disruption on meningococcal disease and vaccination in the UK. By adapting an existing mathematical model for meningococcal carriage, we addressed the following questions: What is the predicted impact of the existing MenACWY adolescent vaccination programme? What effect might social distancing and reduced vaccine uptake both have on future epidemiology? Will catch-up vaccination campaigns be necessary? Our model indicated that the MenACWY vaccine programme was generating substantial indirect protection and suppressing transmission by 2020. COVID-19 social distancing is expected to have accelerated this decline, causing significant long-lasting reductions in both carriage prevalence of meningococcal A/C/W/Y strains and incidence of invasive meningococcal disease. In all scenarios modelled, pandemic social mixing effects outweighed potential reductions in vaccine uptake, causing an overall decline in carriage prevalence from 2020 for at least 5 years. Model outputs show strong consistency with recently published case data for England.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Meningococcal Infections , Meningococcal Vaccines , Neisseria meningitidis , Adolescent , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , England , Meningococcal Infections/epidemiology , Meningococcal Infections/prevention & control , Meningococcal Vaccines/administration & dosage , Meningococcal Vaccines/adverse effects , Pandemics , Vaccination , Vaccines, Combined , Vaccines, Conjugate
10.
BMJ Open ; 13(5): e070923, 2023 05 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236254

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Explore the experiences of patients and clinicians in rheumatology and cardiology outpatient clinics during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the impact of remote consultations on interpersonal dynamics. DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews, conducted between February and June 2021. SETTING: The rheumatology and cardiology departments of a general hospital in England, UK. PARTICIPANTS: All clinicians and a convenience sample of 100 patients in each department who had taken part in a remote consultation in the past month were invited to take part. Twenty-five interviews were conducted (13 with patients, 12 with clinicians). RESULTS: Three themes were developed through the analysis: adapting to the dynamics of remote consultations, impact on the patient's experience and impact on the clinician's experience. The majority of remote consultations experienced by both patients and clinicians had been via telephone. Both clinicians and patients found remote consultations to be more business-like and focused, with the absence of pauses restricting time for reflection. For patients with stable, well-managed conditions, remote consultations were felt to be appropriate and could be more convenient than in-person consultations. However, the loss of visual cues meant some patients felt they could not give a holistic view of their condition and limited clinicians' ability to gather and convey information. Clinicians adjusted their approach by asking more questions, checking understanding more frequently and expressing empathy verbally, but felt patients still shared fewer concerns remotely than in person; a perception with which patients concurred. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the importance of ensuring, for each patient, that remote care is appropriate. Future research should focus on developing ways to support both clinicians and patients to gather and provide all information necessary during remote consultations, to enhance communication and trust.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cardiology , Remote Consultation , Rheumatology , Humans , Pandemics , England , Ambulatory Care Facilities
11.
Int J Soc Psychiatry ; 69(4): 928-941, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236102

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Internationally, hospital-based short-stay crisis units have been introduced to provide a safe space for stabilisation and further assessment for those in psychiatric crisis. The units typically aim to reduce inpatient admissions and psychiatric presentations to emergency departments. AIMS: To assess changes to service use following a service user's first visit to a unit, characterise the population accessing these units and examine equality of access to the units. METHODS: A prospective cohort study design (ISCTRN registered; 53431343) compared service use for the 9 months preceding and following a first visit to a short-stay crisis unit at three cities and one rural area in England. Included individuals first visited a unit in the 6 months between 01/September/2020 and 28/February/2021. RESULTS: The prospective cohort included 1189 individuals aged 36 years on average, significantly younger (by 5-13 years) than the population of local service users (<.001). Seventy percent were White British and most were without a psychiatric diagnosis (55%-82% across sites). The emergency department provided the largest single source of referrals to the unit (42%), followed by the Crisis and Home Treatment Team (20%). The use of most mental health services, including all types of admission and community mental health services was increased post discharge. Social-distancing measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic were in place for slightly over 50% of the follow-up period. Comparison to a pre-COVID cohort of 934 individuals suggested that the pandemic had no effect on the majority of service use variables. CONCLUSIONS: Short-stay crisis units are typically accessed by a young population, including those who previously were unknown to mental health services, who proceed to access a broader range of mental health services following discharge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Services, Psychiatric , Mental Disorders , Humans , Prospective Studies , Cohort Studies , Aftercare , Cities , Pandemics , Patient Discharge , COVID-19/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Mental Disorders/therapy , Mental Disorders/psychology , England/epidemiology , Referral and Consultation
12.
J Med Microbiol ; 72(6)2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20231768

ABSTRACT

Introduction. In England and Wales, cryptosporidiosis cases peak in spring and autumn, associated with zoonotic/environmental exposures (Cryptosporidium parvum, spring/autumn) and overseas travel/water-based activities (Cryptosporidium hominis, autumn). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions prevented social mixing, overseas travel and access to venues (swimming pools/restaurants) for many months, potentially increasing environmental exposures as people sought alternative countryside activities.Hypothesis. COVID-19 restrictions reduced incidence of C. hominis cases and potentially increased incidence of C. parvum cases.Aim. To inform/strengthen surveillance programmes, we investigated the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the epidemiology of C. hominis and C. parvum cases.Methodology. Cases were extracted from the Cryptosporidium Reference Unit (CRU) database (1 January 2015 to 31 December 2021). We defined two periods for pre- and post-COVID-19 restrictions implementation, corresponding to before and after the first UK-wide lockdown on 23 March 2020. We conducted a time series analysis, assessing differences in C. parvum and C. hominis incidence, trends and periodicity between these periods.Results. There were 21 304 cases (C. parvum=12 246; C. hominis=9058). Post-restrictions implementation incidence of C. hominis dropped by 97.5 % (95 % CI: 95.4-98.6 %; P<0.001). The decreasing incidence trend pre-restrictions was not observed post-restrictions implementation due to lack of cases. No periodicity change was observed post-restrictions implementation. There was a strong social gradient; there was a higher proportion of cases in deprived areas. For C. parvum, post-restrictions implementation incidence fell by 49.0 % (95 % CI: 38.4-58.3 %; P<0.001). There was no pre-restrictions incidence trend but an increasing incidence trend post-restrictions implementation. A periodicity change was observed post-restriction implementation, peaking 1 week earlier in spring and 2 weeks later in autumn. The social gradient was the inverse of that for C. hominis. Where recorded, 22 % of C. hominis and 8 % of C. parvum cases had travelled abroad.Conclusion. C. hominis cases almost entirely ceased post-restrictions implementation, reinforcing that foreign travel seeds infections. C. parvum incidence fell sharply but recovered post-restrictions implementation, consistent with relaxation of restrictions. Future exceedance reporting for C. hominis should exclude the post-restriction implementation period but retain it for C. parvum (except the first 6 weeks post-restrictions implementation). Infection prevention and control advice should be improved for people with gastrointestinal illness (GI) symptoms to ensure hand hygiene and swimming pool avoidance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cryptosporidiosis , Cryptosporidium parvum , Cryptosporidium , Humans , Cryptosporidiosis/epidemiology , Cryptosporidiosis/prevention & control , Wales/epidemiology , Time Factors , Genotype , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology
13.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(5): 1007-1010, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20245370

ABSTRACT

Increasing reports of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections mandate surveillance for toxigenic lineage M1UK. An allele-specific PCR was developed to distinguish M1UK from other emm1 strains. The M1UK lineage represented 91% of invasive emm1 isolates in England in 2020. Allele-specific PCR will permit surveillance for M1UK without need for genome sequencing.


Subject(s)
Scarlet Fever , Streptococcal Infections , Humans , Streptococcus pyogenes/genetics , Scarlet Fever/epidemiology , Alleles , England/epidemiology , Streptococcal Infections/diagnosis , Streptococcal Infections/epidemiology , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Antigens, Bacterial/genetics , Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins/genetics
14.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 20(11)2023 Jun 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20245114

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Psychiatric medications play a vital role in the management of mental health disorders. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown limited access to primary care services, leading to an increase in remote assessment and treatment options to maintain social distancing. This study aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on the use of psychiatric medication in primary care settings. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective claims-based analysis of anonymized monthly aggregate practice-level data on anxiolytics and hypnotics use from 322 general practitioner (GP) practices in the North East of England, where health disparities are known to be higher. Participants were all residents who took anxiolytics and hypnotics from primary care facilities for two financial years, from 2019/20 to 2020/21. The primary outcome was the volume of Anxiolytics and Hypnotics used as the standardized, average daily quantities (ADQs) per 1000 patients. Based on the OpenPrescribing database, a random-effect model was applied to quantify the change in the level and trend of anxiolytics and hypnotics use after the UK national lockdown in March 2020. Practice characteristics extracted from the Fingertips data were assessed for their association with a reduction in medication use following the lockdown. RESULTS: This study in the North East of England found that GP practices in higher health disparate regions had a lower workload than those in less health disparate areas, potentially due to disparities in healthcare utilization and socioeconomic status. Patients in the region reported higher levels of satisfaction with healthcare services compared to the England average, but there were differences between patients living in higher versus less health disparate areas. The study highlights the need for targeted interventions to address health disparities, particularly in higher health disparate areas. The study also found that psychiatric medication use was significantly more common in residents living in higher health disparate areas. Daily anxiolytics and hypnotics use decreased by 14 items per 1000 patients between the financial years 2019/20 and 2020/21. A further nine items per 1000 decreased for higher health disparate areas during the UK national lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: People during the COVID-19 lockdown were associated with an increased risk of unmet psychiatric medication demand, especially for higher health disparate areas that had low-socioeconomic status.


Subject(s)
Anti-Anxiety Agents , COVID-19 , General Practitioners , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Anti-Anxiety Agents/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , Communicable Disease Control , Hypnotics and Sedatives , England/epidemiology
15.
Emerg Med J ; 40(6): 394-395, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244549

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , England , Oxygen
16.
BMC Public Health ; 23(1): 1028, 2023 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243669

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To understand the public perceptions of the schools Covid-19 testing programme in England. DESIGN: Qualitative social media analysis. SETTING: Online users of parenting forums (Mumsnet and Netmums), Facebook newspaper pages and Daily Mail online readers, who responded to posts or articles about the schools testing programme in England, between 1 and 31 March, 2021. RESULTS: Overall, seven main themes were identified, these were divided into barriers and facilitators to engaging in testing for Covid-19. Barriers were: uncertainty around testing in the absence of symptoms; concerns about testing; implications about testing positive; mistrust in the Government. Facilitators were: desire to protect others; desire to return to normality; and hearing others' positive experiences. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis highlighted that alongside well-established barriers to engaging in asymptomatic testing, parents were having to negotiate additional complex decisions around balancing their child's anxiety over testing alongside acknowledgement of the implications of regular testing, such as return to normality and protecting others. Parents and children would benefit from additional practical and social support to facilitate engagement with the schools testing programme.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , England , Parents , Social Support
17.
PLoS Med ; 20(6): e1004245, 2023 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20243323

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: An increased risk of myocarditis or pericarditis after priming with mRNA Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines has been shown but information on the risk post-booster is limited. With the now high prevalence of prior Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, we assessed the effect of prior infection on the vaccine risk and the risk from COVID-19 reinfection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a self-controlled case series analysis of hospital admissions for myocarditis or pericarditis in England between 22 February 2021 and 6 February 2022 in the 50 million individuals eligible to receive the adenovirus-vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1-S) for priming or an mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273) for priming or boosting. Myocarditis and pericarditis admissions were extracted from the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) database in England and vaccination histories from the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS); prior infections were obtained from the UK Health Security Agency's Second-Generation Surveillance Systems. The relative incidence (RI) of admission within 0 to 6 and 7 to 14 days of vaccination compared with periods outside these risk windows stratified by age, dose, and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection for individuals aged 12 to 101 years was estimated. The RI within 27 days of an infection was assessed in the same model. There were 2,284 admissions for myocarditis and 1,651 for pericarditis in the study period. Elevated RIs were only observed in 16- to 39-year-olds 0 to 6 days postvaccination, mainly in males for myocarditis. Both mRNA vaccines showed elevated RIs after first, second, and third doses with the highest RIs after a second dose 5.34 (95% confidence interval (CI) [3.81, 7.48]; p < 0.001) for BNT162b2 and 56.48 (95% CI [33.95, 93.97]; p < 0.001) for mRNA-1273 compared with 4.38 (95% CI [2.59, 7.38]; p < 0.001) and 7.88 (95% CI [4.02, 15.44]; p < 0.001), respectively, after a third dose. For ChAdOx1-S, an elevated RI was only observed after a first dose, RI 5.23 (95% CI [2.48, 11.01]; p < 0.001). An elevated risk of admission for pericarditis was only observed 0 to 6 days after a second dose of mRNA-1273 vaccine in 16 to 39 year olds, RI 4.84 (95% CI [1.62, 14.01]; p = 0.004). RIs were lower in those with a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection than in those without, 2.47 (95% CI [1.32,4.63]; p = 0.005) versus 4.45 (95% [3.12, 6.34]; p = 0.001) after a second BNT162b2 dose, and 19.07 (95% CI [8.62, 42.19]; p < 0.001) versus 37.2 (95% CI [22.18, 62.38]; p < 0.001) for mRNA-1273 (myocarditis and pericarditis outcomes combined). RIs 1 to 27 days postinfection were elevated in all ages and were marginally lower for breakthrough infections, 2.33 (95% CI [1.96, 2.76]; p < 0.001) compared with 3.32 (95% CI [2.54, 4.33]; p < 0.001) in vaccine-naïve individuals respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We observed an increased risk of myocarditis within the first week after priming and booster doses of mRNA vaccines, predominantly in males under 40 years with the highest risks after a second dose. The risk difference between the second and the third doses was particularly marked for the mRNA-1273 vaccine that contains half the amount of mRNA when used for boosting than priming. The lower risk in those with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, and lack of an enhanced effect post-booster, does not suggest a spike-directed immune mechanism. Research to understand the mechanism of vaccine-associated myocarditis and to document the risk with bivalent mRNA vaccines is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Myocarditis , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Child , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , BNT162 Vaccine , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , England/epidemiology , mRNA Vaccines , Myocarditis/epidemiology , Myocarditis/etiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination/adverse effects
18.
BMJ Open ; 13(6): e068904, 2023 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235545

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To identify effective initiatives to increase veteran registration in UK primary healthcare (PHC) practices. DESIGN: A structured and systematic strategy was designed to improve the number of military veterans correctly coded within PHC. A mixed methods approach was adopted to evaluate the impact. PHC staff provided anonymised patient medical record data that used Read and Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine - Clinical Terms codes to identify the number of veterans within each PHC practice. This included baseline data, then scheduled further information after two phases of internal advertisement and two phases of external advertisement of different initiatives intended to raise veteran registration. Qualitative data was acquired through post-project interviews with PHC staff to ascertain the effectiveness, benefits, problems and means for improvement. A modified Grounded theory was used for the 12 staff interviews. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Twelve PHC practices in Cheshire, England, participated in this research study with a combined total of 138 098 patients. Data was collected between 01 September 2020 until 28 February 2021. RESULTS: Overall, veteran registration increased by 218.1% (N=1311). Estimated coverage of veterans increased from a coverage of 9.3% to a coverage of 29.5%. There was an increased population coverage ranging from 5.0% to 54.1%. The staff interviews revealed improved staff commitment and their taking ownership of the responsibility to improve veteran registration. The primary challenge was the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the significantly reduced footfall and the communication opportunities and interface with patients. CONCLUSIONS: Managing an advertising campaign and improving veteran registration during a pandemic caused huge problems, but it also presented opportunities. Enabling a significant increase in PHC registration during the harshest and most testing conditions indicates that the accomplished achievements have substantial merit for wider adoption and impact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Humans , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , England , Primary Health Care/methods
19.
BMJ Open ; 13(6): e071973, 2023 06 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235334

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To quantify differences in number and timing of first primary cleft lip and palate (CLP) repair procedures during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021; 2020/2021) compared with the preceding year (1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020; 2019/2021). DESIGN: National observational study of administrative hospital data. SETTING: National Health Service hospitals in England. STUDY POPULATION: Children <5 years undergoing primary repair for an orofacial cleft Population Consensus and Surveys Classification of Interventions and Procedures-fourth revisions (OPCS-4) codes F031, F291). MAIN EXPOSURE: Procedure date (2020/2021 vs 2019/2020). MAIN OUTCOMES: Numbers and timing (age in months) of first primary CLP procedures. RESULTS: 1716 CLP primary repair procedures were included in the analysis. In 2020/2021, 774 CLP procedures were carried out compared with 942 in 2019/2020, a reduction of 17.8% (95% CI 9.5% to 25.4%). The reduction varied over time in 2020/2021, with no surgeries at all during the first 2 months (April and May 2020). Compared with 2019/2020, first primary lip repair procedures performed in 2020/2021 were delayed by 1.6 months on average (95% CI 0.9 to 2.2 months). Delays in primary palate repairs were smaller on average but varied across the nine geographical regions. CONCLUSION: There were significant reductions in the number and delays in timing of first primary CLP repair procedures in England during the first year of the pandemic, which may affect long-term outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cleft Lip , Cleft Palate , Child , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Electronic Health Records , Cleft Lip/epidemiology , Cleft Lip/surgery , Cleft Palate/epidemiology , Cleft Palate/surgery , Pandemics , State Medicine , England/epidemiology
20.
PLoS Biol ; 21(5): e3002118, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235131

ABSTRACT

The relationship between prevalence of infection and severe outcomes such as hospitalisation and death changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reliable estimates of the infection fatality ratio (IFR) and infection hospitalisation ratio (IHR) along with the time-delay between infection and hospitalisation/death can inform forecasts of the numbers/timing of severe outcomes and allow healthcare services to better prepare for periods of increased demand. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study estimated swab positivity for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in England approximately monthly from May 2020 to March 2022. Here, we analyse the changing relationship between prevalence of swab positivity and the IFR and IHR over this period in England, using publicly available data for the daily number of deaths and hospitalisations, REACT-1 swab positivity data, time-delay models, and Bayesian P-spline models. We analyse data for all age groups together, as well as in 2 subgroups: those aged 65 and over and those aged 64 and under. Additionally, we analysed the relationship between swab positivity and daily case numbers to estimate the case ascertainment rate of England's mass testing programme. During 2020, we estimated the IFR to be 0.67% and the IHR to be 2.6%. By late 2021/early 2022, the IFR and IHR had both decreased to 0.097% and 0.76%, respectively. The average case ascertainment rate over the entire duration of the study was estimated to be 36.1%, but there was some significant variation in continuous estimates of the case ascertainment rate. Continuous estimates of the IFR and IHR of the virus were observed to increase during the periods of Alpha and Delta's emergence. During periods of vaccination rollout, and the emergence of the Omicron variant, the IFR and IHR decreased. During 2020, we estimated a time-lag of 19 days between hospitalisation and swab positivity, and 26 days between deaths and swab positivity. By late 2021/early 2022, these time-lags had decreased to 7 days for hospitalisations and 18 days for deaths. Even though many populations have high levels of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 from vaccination and natural infection, waning of immunity and variant emergence will continue to be an upwards pressure on the IHR and IFR. As investments in community surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infection are scaled back, alternative methods are required to accurately track the ever-changing relationship between infection, hospitalisation, and death and hence provide vital information for healthcare provision and utilisation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Bayes Theorem , Pandemics , England/epidemiology , Hospitalization
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