School Vaccination Program in Murcia: Boosting Child Flu Immunization Rates and EU Recognition for Good Practices

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Vaccination in schools increases protection against the flu virusL. O.

Child vaccination has better results if it is carried out in the schools themselves. This is demonstrated by the figures of the flu vaccination campaign which has just closed the Murcian Ministry of Health, this being the first year that children are included in flu vaccination.

In this first experience, Salud had set the target of reaching 50% coverage in child vaccination against influenza, the regional balance having remained somewhat below that goal, at 45%. However, the figures have been very different in those places where vaccination has been carried out in schools and not in health centers or clinics. “In schools, coverage has risen a lot and we have reached 60% of minors vaccinated,” explains the deputy director of Public Health, Jaime Pérez, to La Opinión, who believes that this is a way of bringing vaccines closer to the population.

The Departments of Health and Education of the Region of Murcia have been collaborating for decades to make vaccination more accessible with different campaigns in educational centers and on this occasion the flu vaccine has been introduced for the first time.

This 2022-2023 school year, a pilot flu immunization program with the new intranasal vaccine in children of 1st and 2nd grade of Early Childhood Education in 24 schools, and the vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV) has been introduced in male pre-adolescents who turn 11 (in girls it has been done since 2008).

Distinction from the EU to the Vaccine Program

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The School Vaccination Program of the Region of Murcia has been recognized by the European Digital and Health Agency (HaDEA) as one of the most promising practices of the ‘Overcoming obstacles to vaccination’ project. Thus, the European Union delivered this recognition yesterday at a meeting organized at the Ministry of Health, taking advantage of the visit of some thirty technicians from different countries who are in the Region to learn about the implementation of the program and thus be able to launch it in the health systems in their respective territories.

The coverage of the HPV vaccine in the Region of Murcia it reaches almost 96% and it is close to 5 percent above the national average in first doses; the difference in second doses is even greater, being close to 10 percentage points above the mean.

Similar is the coverage in the first dose of immunization against meningococcus, another of the vaccines administered in schools this year. Thus, it reaches 95 percent, 4.5 points above the national average.

The figures were released yesterday by the Ministry during the delivery of the European recognition of ‘good practices’ to the School Vaccination Program.

The acting counselor, Juan José Pedreño, stressed that “bringing vaccination to school guarantees, in addition to more accessibility, more equality and better vaccination rates”, and highlighted “the enormous involvement of professionals from health centers and the teachers and directors of the centers to achieve the objectives, to which we are very grateful.

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Pedreño insisted that “it is a fact that convenience in the administration improves access to vaccines and decreases the reluctance of the population and the school vaccination program in the Region of Murcia has played a very important role.”

Murcian projects

Among all the proposals presented by the different countries of the European Union before the European Digital and Health Agency, ten projects were selected, including two of the three presented by the Region of Murcia, which were the only Spanish programs. Of those ten selected, there were five finalists among which the regional School Vaccination Program was recognized, which was also the most voted.

2023-06-02 04:00:27
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