Confidence regained. Childhood vaccination is once again a popular offer
In 2017, the coverage of all vaccines in the childhood vaccination programme rose. For several vaccines, the increase was quite substantial.
Vaccines is one of the best ways of preventing infectious diseases. In order to ensure a high level of protection for the entire population, it is necessary that as many as possible receive vaccination as part of the childhood vaccination programme.
A sufficiently high vaccination overage will not only protect the individual child. We also protect the children whose immune system is so weakened that they cannot withstand vaccination. Furthermore, we protect children who are currently too young to be vaccinated.
Therefore, it is very encouraging that the coverage of all vaccinations in the childhood vaccination programme increased in 2017. For several of the vaccines, quite substantial coverage increases were seen.
“We are extremely content that the coverage keeps increasing. The figure rose from 2015 to 2016 and continued the positive trend in 2017. It is particularly encouraging that the coverage of the HPV vaccination has increased by a total of 12 percentage points in a single year”, notes Peter Henrik Andersen, Staff Specialist at Statens Serum Institut.
Information efforts have helped
The positive results are owed not least to the considerable information efforts made under the campaign Stop HPV - Stop Cervical Cancer that the Danish Health Authority launched in collaboration with the Danish Cancer Society and The Danish Medical Association in the spring of 2017. The aim is to raise the coverage of HPV vaccination to the high level achieved when coverage peaked 5-7 years ago (birth years 1998-2000).
The coverage has already increased substantially and a mid-way evaluation of the initiative shows that parents have regained confidence in the vaccine. The increase is also owed to the letters that parents receive if their children have not yet been given one or more childhood vaccines.
"We can see that sending out the reminders works. For some vaccines, coverage has risen by more than 5% compared with the control group that did not receive a letter”, explains Peter Henrik Andersen.
The health visitor matters
Furthermore, it is very encouraging that several municipalities and regions have launched their own initiatives to raise the coverage of childhood vaccines. This trend is explored in further detail in the 2017 Annual Report. Here, municipalities who have achieved a coverage that exceeds by far the national average for one or more vaccines share their experiences.
Almost all municipalities underline that health visitors are pivotal to the collaboration with new parents. This also applies in relation to the childhood vaccination programme. Parents have great confidence in the health visitor. If he or she recommends that they have their child vaccinated, they are likely to schedule a visit with their GP and have their child vaccinated.
The annual report released
Please find more information about all of this in the Annual Report on the childhood vaccination programme for 2017. The report was prepared jointly by the Danish Health Authority, Statens Serum Institut and the Danish Medicines Agency.
Among others, the report contains information about the vaccination programme, its coverage and the effects of the vaccines. Furthermore, the report presents facts about reported side effects and local initiatives to have even more people receive the vaccines offered under the programme.
The annual report is for anyone who wants to learn more about the Danish childhood vaccination programme. This applies to parents as well as the media, decision makers and other authorities.
For more information, please see The Childhood Vaccination Programme - Annual Report 2017.