More than 28% of Andalusian children have been vaccinated against bronchiolitis virus

Seville, October 4 (European News Agency) –

Catalina García, Minister of Health and Consumer Affairs of the Government of Andalusia, has emphasized the commitment and responsibility for health of parents and guardians who have accepted the invitation to vaccinate their children against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It is the leading cause of respiratory infections such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. In just over a week, 28.5% of Andalusian children who were asked to receive these vaccines have been vaccinated against the virus, a total of 18,151 minors. Likewise, he stressed that 58.8% of minors born since April 1 have received this vaccine.

“These figures represent a milestone in prevention in Andalusia,” he stressed during the celebrations of the first Andalusian Forum on Immunization and Prevention of Respiratory Infections in Seville. Miguel, Undersecretary of Health and Consumer Affairs ·Angel Guzman also attended the forum. , as well as authorities such as Jorge del Diego, director of the General Administration of Public Health and Medicines.

In this sense, he recalled that last Monday, September 25, RSV vaccinations began in Andalusia, as noted in the press release. Approximately 63,600 doses of vaccines have been procured for the 2023-2024 campaign, with a budget of €13.8 million, for all children born between 1 October 2023 and 31 March 2024 and for all infants born between 1 April 2023 and 9 March 30th. Children under 1 year of age with a history of prematurity of less than 35 weeks may also receive the treatment, in addition to other infants with very high-risk chronic conditions (up to 24 months of age).

He pointed out that through this kind of immunization, infection by this virus can be effectively and safely prevented, and this respiratory disease occurs especially in autumn and winter. It therefore recommends that all parents of children under six months of age accept an invitation for RSV immunization.

Last year, the virus resulted in 301 minors being hospitalized at one time in Andalusia, with the peak in November. A total of 2,581 children under one year old required hospitalization due to RSV in 2022, according to records from the Andalusian Health Service.

By province, the estimated doses in each province are: Almeria, 7,435; Cádiz, 8,691; Córdoba, 5,417; Granada, 7,943; Huelva, 4,141; Jaén, 4,814; Málaga , 11,819, Seville, 13,341. A monoclonal antibody against RSV – called Nirsevimab, commercially known as Beyfortus – has been used for the first time in Andalusia. In this way, the community continues to focus on health prevention, with one of the “most advanced” vaccination programs in the country.

“This commitment of the Andalusian government is reflected in the investments. This year we have allocated 117.5 million euros, an increase of 178.4% compared to the 2018 budget of 42.2 million euros,” he added.

On the other hand, the General Directorate of Public Health and Drug Regulation has included RSV in the sentinel surveillance program for acute respiratory infections in primary and hospital care, thus joining the joint Covid19/influenza surveillance strategy developed for the 2020-2021 season.

Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

In line with the latter, García highlighted that RSV immunization is added to the annual influenza vaccination for children aged 6 months to 5 years (59 months), which starts in Andalusia during the 2022-2023 campaign , and after the first year of vaccination, 46% of the target population has been reached.

In this regard, it is reported that in the autumn and winter of 2022-2023, per 100,000 residents, more than 900 cases of influenza were recorded among children under 4 years old, while less than 150 cases were recorded among children over 64 years old. . As a result, he added, vaccinated children aged 6 to 59 months had fewer hospitalizations last year than unvaccinated children.

He stressed that the first phase of the 2023-2024 influenza and Covid-19 vaccination campaign will begin on October 9. To this end, the Board has once again increased the number of vaccinations administered compared to previous campaigns, with a total of 2.2 million doses, or an increase of 7.5%. The increase is largely due to this season’s most significant novelty, which is the lowering of the starting age for adult influenza vaccination from 65 to 60 years. At this point, he pointed out that in the previous campaign, another huge effort had been made with the childhood vaccination of children under five years old, with a 21% increase in influenza doses.

The four stages of vaccination

In his speech, he detailed that on October 9, people in care homes and disability centres, the general population aged 85 or over and staff in health and social care centers will receive dual flu and Covid-19 vaccinations. , residential and disability centers. Likewise, students on placements in health and social care centres, residential and disability centres, and children aged 6 to 59 months (inclusive) attending calendar vaccine appointments will also receive the flu vaccine.

From October 16, people over 70, children six months or older, adults with high-risk medical conditions, extended dependents and their professional caregivers, and pregnant women will receive flu and Covid-19 vaccinations. From the same date, children aged 6 to 59 months (inclusive) will also receive the flu vaccine.

The next phase will begin on October 30, when people over 60 years old and other professional groups such as security forces and institutions, prison institutions, will receive dual influenza and Covid-19 vaccinations; veterinarians, farm workers or ranchers Primary and other professional groups will receive influenza vaccinations. The final phase, which will begin in December, will see dual flu and Covid-19 vaccinations given to people aged 60 or over in the household or in high-risk groups.

Regarding the coverage of the anti-influenza campaign in 2022-2023, he said that in Andalusia, more than 70% of people over 65 years old have been vaccinated, which is close to the World Health Organization’s optimal protection figure of 75%. Forty-six percent of children aged 6 to 59 months were included in the system’s vaccination coverage for the first time. The figure for pregnant women is 81.3%, also exceeding the target of 60%; for health and social care professionals it is 50.6%.

Specifically, from October 3 to the end of April, a total of 1,953,383 doses of vaccine were administered, an increase of 206,662 doses compared to the 21-22 event. “Last year was a record for Andalusia and we aim to surpass these figures.” To sum up, the minimum vaccination coverage targets for the 2023-2024 campaign are the same as in the previous campaign: older people, 75%; Health and Society Health professionals accounted for 75%, and pregnant women accounted for 60%.

pneumococcal

In this case, Catalina García recommends taking advantage of the opportunity to receive pneumococcal vaccination (if needed), the same as influenza or Covid-19 vaccination, to increase protection against invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia. Therefore, he explained that so far in 2023, the pneumococcal coverage rate is 62%. “We also call on all Andalusians aged 60 to 72 to receive this vaccine (once only) to protect themselves against pneumonia,” he concluded.

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