Health reinforces child vaccination against pneumococcus with a more complete vaccine

Apr 12, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Interview, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition, Writter

From this April, the Balearic Islands will improve the children’s vaccination schedule with the inclusion of the 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Until now, and since 2016, babies have been immunised against 13 serotypes in three doses. From this April, and following the authorisation of the European Medicines Agency for the use of the 20-valent pneumococcal conjugate pneumococcal vaccine, the Balearic Islands will be the first Autonomous Community to include this booster vaccine in the children’s vaccination schedule.

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Health reinforces child vaccination against pneumococcus

The Director General of Public Health, Elena Esteban, explained this morning, in a presentation at the Palmanova health centre, all the details of the vaccine recently incorporated into the children’s vaccination schedule, which can achieve up to four times more protection than the previous vaccine of 13 serotypes, taking into account the circulating serotypes.

As explained by Elena Esteban, who was accompanied by the coordinator of the Primary Care vaccination centre, Verónica Vega, the immunisation of babies with the new drug will be carried out in four doses: at 2, 4 and 6 months, with a booster at 11 months.

This booster vaccine with 20 serotypes has been included in the adult population’s schedule as a single dose since last October. Vaccination against pneumococcal disease in adults is indicated for people aged between 65 and 75 years and people with risk factors for invasive pneumococcal disease: transplant recipients, cancer patients, immunocompromised people, people with immunodeficiencies, cardiovascular or respiratory diseases or people institutionalised in nursing homes.

The Directorate General of Public Health of the Regional Ministry of Health has purchased 40,000 doses for the period between 31 March 2024 and 30 March 2025, with an investment of 1,961,000 euros. Of these, 25,500 doses are expected to be administered to the paediatric population, which usually achieves a vaccination coverage of 90%.

Pneumococcal pneumonia and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) are a major health problem, mainly associated with the existence of risk factors and also related to age. In Spain, in recent years, the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE) has recorded between 3,000 and 4,000 cases per year, mainly affecting children under five years of age and older people.

Vaccination is an essential tool to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease, and for this reason, the vaccine was included in the children’s schedule in 2016. In the case of older people, the vaccine was already administered to people in at-risk groups and 2018 the Public Health Commission approved universal vaccination at 65 years of age.