(say Manuela Correra)
More vaccinations also from the family doctor, pediatrics and pharmacy. Soon, these professionals will in fact be able to administer basic immunizations to children and adults, as is already the case with the flu shot and the anti-Covid vaccine. The novelty is contained in the new National Vaccine Prevention Plan 2023-2025, which could have the definitive go-ahead by February.
One of the main points of the Plan, the director of Prevention of the Ministry of Health Gianni Rezza explains to ANSA, is that “for the first time the vaccination calendar is released from the Plan, which has a three-year duration, and can therefore be updated annually”. An “important change, since in this way any new vaccinations or changes can be introduced more easily and quickly”.
But the novelty that will probably interest citizens the most is the possibility of having vaccinations carried out not only at the vaccination centers of the local health authorities, says Rezza, but also from one’s family doctor, pediatrician or in pharmacies. This possibility will then be regulated by regional agreements, but the general objective is to create greater synergy between health professionals to encourage vaccinations.
In particular, the Plan reads, “the application of a model that ensures the capillarity of the vaccination points is desirable, with an expansion of the staff responsible for vaccinations, with simplification of access to vaccination sessions and with an approach to guarantee the active offer of vaccinations”. Among the objectives, also the strengthening of some immunizations such as that against measles, rubella and HPV, whose coverage levels have decreased during the pandemic.
In fact, if 2021, the Plan underlines, “showed a general improvement in coverage for most of the vaccinations recommended in the first years of life compared to 2020, however coverage for polio and measles, at 24 months, does not reach the a value of 95%. Coverage relating to HPV vaccination is also generally an improvement compared to the previous year, albeit well below the primary targets”.
Overall, 10 objectives are indicated in the Plan: maintain polio-free status; achieve and maintain elimination of measles and rubella; strengthen the prevention of cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases; maintain target vaccination coverage by structuring prevention networks and pathways; promote vaccination interventions in high-risk population groups; plan actions for population groups that are difficult to reach; complete the computerization of the regional vaccination registers and implement the national vaccination register; improve surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases; strengthen communication in the field of vaccination and promote the culture of vaccination and formation in vacciniology among health professionals.
As for the timing, the new plan has reached the Regions and a technical meeting is scheduled for 2 February. In these days, Rezza explains, “observations are still being received from the Regions and there could be some changes. If, however, the meeting of 2 February does not see particular problems emerge, the Plan will be forwarded to the State-Regions Conference for the agreement and final approval should arrive by the end of February”.