1Società Italiana di Pediatria Preventiva e Sociale
2UO Materno Infantile, ASL Benevento
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Key words: Immunization programs, Vaccine coverage Italy, Vaccine MMR
In Italy, measles vaccine became commercially available in 1976 and the Ministry of Health has been recommending its administration since 1979. The last significant measles epidemic in Italy occurred in the region around Naples, Campania, in 2002 when approximately 41,000 cases were reported: 95% of the reported cases were children under 15 years old, 600 of them had to be hospitalized and among them 16 cases of encephalitis and 4 deaths were reported. Italy, as well as all the other European countries that are member of the World Health Organisation, had committed to eliminate endemic transmission of measles and rubella by 2015; however, even if the incidence of these diseases had decreased, the goal has not been achieved yet. On the 27th January 2016, for the first time the Ministry of Health published the data regarding the coverage for the second dose of the MMR vaccine given at 5-6 years of age for the years 2013 (cohort 2006) and 2014 (cohort 2007). The mean measles vaccination coverage was much lower than 90% (84%) in 2013 and further reduced in 2014 (82.72%), recording peaks of significantly lower percentages in some southern regions. It is therefore evident that this low coverage level results in a substantial number of children susceptible to infection and thus leads to a higher risk of new epidemics. It is therefore necessary to take effective and rapid measures to overcome the widespread mistrust of vaccines, in particular of the measles vaccine, and to reverse the above-mentioned negative trend of the vaccines coverage.
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