Acceptance of the new conjugate vaccines. Meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccines, in the cohort born in 1999, in the North Region of Portugal.

Laurinda De Queirós, Luis Castro, Maria Carmo Ferreira, Guilherme Gonçalves

Abstract


The new conjugate vaccines against group C meningococcal infection and pneumococcal infection were introduced in Portugal in 2001. In 2001/2002, the media published several alarming news on meningococcal disease and there was an increased demand of those vaccines, not included in the Portuguese National Vaccination Programme. In order to assess the coverage with these new vaccines against Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae, we conducted a descriptive study of the cohort born in 1999, using a convenience sample, from eight health centres in the North of Portugal. Data was collected from the vaccination records of 1877 children born in 1999: 37.2% had received the group C meningococcal conjugate vaccine and 33.3% the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, while 21,2% had received both. Most vaccinations with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine were performed after 23 months of age, above the recommended age range. The biggest number of group C meningococcal conjugate vaccines given in a month, was recorded in February of 2002, when the maximum number of reported cases of meningococcal disease was also observed. Correlation of both distributions over time was very high (R(2)=0.95). In February 2002 the number of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine doses given rose again, after having been decreasing since October 2001. This study suggested research hypothesis for the future.

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