Ann Ig 2019 Mar-Apr;31(2 Supple 1):54-64
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Unit of Infectious Diseases, University of Messina, Italy.
The National Plan for Vaccine Prevention 2017-2019 has expanded the vaccination offer including new vaccines, enlarging the target population and introducing for the ﬁrst time in Italy a life-course approach to vaccination. A "lifetime immunization schedule" is aimed to reduce the burden and the related costs of vaccine-preventable diseases through effective vaccination programs. However, to counteract the national steady downward trend in the uptake of vaccinations that caused a drop of the vaccination coverage below the 95% threshold to allow herd immunity, it was decided to make 10 vaccinations mandatory by the law 119/2017. In particular, in addition to already mandatory vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B and poliomyelitis, those against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), varicella, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) were added to the list. According to the law, all unvaccinated children cannot attend preschool services until the age of 6 years and fines (from 100 to 500 Euros) are provided for parents. Moreover, this law provided, in its first application, a catch-up campaign for children up to the age of 16 years and the free-of-charge offer of all mandatory and recommended vaccines to each child not yet vaccinated according to the previous NPVP. The NPVP includes also several at risk categories, such as pregnant women, healthcare workers and subjects suffering from chronic diseases, to whom specific vaccinations, free of charge, are offered. The vaccinations of pregnant women have different purposes. In order to decrease the pertussis risk in newborns in the first months of life, a booster immunization of DTPa is recommended, at every pregnancy, between week 27th and 36th. Instead, the inﬂuenza vaccine administration to pregnant women during the second or third quarter is mainly aimed to avoid the risk of serious disease complications for both the mother and the fetus. Another group of at risk subjects included in the NPVP is that made up by healthcare workers. According to the plan, "an adequate immunization of the healthcare workers is essential for the prevention and control of infections (anti-hepatitis B, anti-influenza, anti-measles-mumps-rubella, anti-varicella, anti-pertussis)". Finally, almost all the vaccinations foreseen by the NPVP are offered free of charge to subjects suffering from specific diseases. These include cardiovascular, respiratory, hepatic, neoplastic, renal and metabolic disorders, in addition to immunosuppression that exposes them to an increased risk of contracting invasive infectious diseases.