Ministry of Health Announces New National Vaccination Campaign Against COVID-19
In a recent circular, the Ministry of Health announced the launch of a new national vaccination campaign against COVID-19, which will coincide with the anti-flu campaign for the 2023/24 season. The campaign will use a new formulation of mRNA and protein vaccines, known as the updated monovalent XBB 1.5 formulation.
The approval of these new vaccines by regulatory authorities, namely the European Medicines Agency (Ema) and the Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa), is expected by the end of summer or early autumn. The doses are anticipated to be available starting in October.
The aim of the campaign, according to Minister of Health Horace Schillaci, is to prevent mortality, hospitalizations, and severe forms of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations. This includes elderly individuals, highly frail people, pregnant women, and healthcare workers. The Ministry expresses the importance of getting vaccinated every 12 months to maintain protection.
The circular also outlines the categories of people at risk who are recommended for vaccination. These include individuals aged 60 and above, residents of long-term care facilities, pregnant or breastfeeding women, health workers, and individuals between the ages of 6 months and 59 years who suffer from chronic diseases and listed pathologies (such as heart disease, diabetes, renal failure, serious neurological problems, and cirrhosis). Additionally, family members and cohabitants of people with serious frailties are also advised to get vaccinated.
In case of limited vaccine doses at the beginning of the campaign, priority will be given to individuals aged 80 and above, as well as healthcare workers, who are considered to be the most vulnerable.
The circular also emphasizes the importance of reporting any suspected adverse reactions to the vaccination. Health professionals are urged to follow good vaccination practices and promptly report any adverse events to the Aifa pharmacovigilance system. Citizens are also encouraged to report any concerns they may have.
With the launch of this new vaccination campaign, the Ministry of Health aims to protect the population from COVID-19 and reduce the burden on hospitals and healthcare systems. The campaign will be carried out in conjunction with the anti-flu campaign, demonstrating a comprehensive approach towards public health.