OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to assess childhood immunization coverage in Greece at both the national and the regional level, and to provide information for setting national immunization goals and priorities, and for planning activities to promote vaccination uptake. METHOD: Representative samples of children in the first and last (9th) years of compulsory education (6.5 and 14.5 years old respectively) were selected. A simple random sample of about 30 school classes for each cohort of children was chosen in each of the ten regions of Greece (cluster sampling) after stratification by made participated in the study and the response rates were 92.2% and 86.1% respectively. The children's immunization status was recorded in 1996 - 1997 from the children's parent held 'health booklets' by about 100 trained health professionals. RESULTS: By the age of 2 years, 69%, 65% and 66% respectively of children in the 1st grade had been immunized with 4 doses of vaccine for diptheria-tetanus, for pertussis and for poliomyelitis, and 71%, 64% and 64% respectively had been immunized for measles, for mumps and for rubella. Two vaccination doses for measles, for mumps and for rubella respectively has been given to 37%, 19% and 24% of children in the 9th grade. Of children in the 1st grade 58% and of the 9th grade of children 46% were immunized for hepatitis B (3 doses). In the 1st and 9th grades, 39% and 68% of children respectively were immunized for tuberculosis (BCG vaccine). CONCLUSIONS: Immunization coveerage of children in Greece is lower than the targets of the World Health Organisation and lower than in most countries of the European Union. This is largerly the result of delayed vaccination of a substantial proportion of children. Particularly low is the uptake of the 4th and especially the 5th dose of the diptheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. Coverage with the vaccines which according to the Greek schedule are carried out in the school age, namely BCG and the 2nd dose for measles, mumps and rubella, is very low. Adolescents are inadequately immunized for measles, mumps and rubella. There is a great need for a comprehensive vaccination strategy in Greece.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Archives of Hellenic Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|
- Public health