HC Deb 22 December 1997 vol 303 cc529-30W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy on the provision of travel vaccines from the National Health Service. [20999]

Ms Jowell

Advice on appropriate measures to protect health when travelling aborad, including advice on immunisation and malaria prophylaxis, is available under the National Health Service. Currently some vaccines against infectious disease are provided free for travellers as a matter of public health policy, others are not. Broadly speaking, those vaccines provided free offer protection against diseases which might be spread on return to the United Kingdom. Immunisation in these cases benefits not only the recipient but also the community at large, since each individual immunisation contributes to the general control of disease. We recognise that inconsistencies and ambiguities have arisen over the years in the arrangements for travel vaccines and the way they are interpreted. We are seeking to resolve these anomalies as part of an ongoing internal review.

Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in the UK received vaccination for travel aborad on the National Health Service in each of the last five years; and what was the cost to public funds. [21000]

Ms Jowell

It is not possible to say how many people were immunised for the purpose of travel abroad each year. Records are not kept of the number of people immunised and data on prescription items dispensed do not differentiate between primary courses (usually consisting of several doses of vaccine) and booster doses. The number of prescription items dispensed in England and the net ingredient costs for vaccines which may be given for the purposes of travel are given in the table. The data include some of the vaccines which will have been prescribed for reasons other than travel. The costs do not include dispensing costs. It is not possible to separately identify the cost of vaccinating patients in general practice.

The number of prescription items dispensed and net ingredient cost for vaccines administered for travel1: 1992–96 England
Year Total number of prescription items (millions) Total cost (£ million)
1992 3.2 16.5
1993 3.3 29.1
1994 3.4 40.5
1995 3.3 47.0
1996 3.3 49.1
1 The travel vaccines are those preparations in the British National Formulary (BNF) [issue 30, September 1995] section 14.6— International travel: BCG, cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A, meningococcal A&C, normal immunoglobulin, poliomyelitis, typhoid, typhoid-paratyphoid A&B and yellow fever. Some of these vaccines will have been prescribed for reasons other than travel.


1. The data cover all prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England.

2. The net ingredient cost refers to the cost of the drug before discounts and does not include any dispensing costs or fees.

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