Immunisation Coverage Single Most Important Health Activity For Papua New Guinea.

We all know that the immunisation coverage in PNG is not to the level we want.

I thought I will share new data out from USA after the introduction of the PCV7 (vaccine for pneumonia) in 2000.

First the data in children under 5 years of age (data referenced from Medscape Education):

  • Between 1998 & 1999 there were around 80 cases of pneumonia per 100 000 population in children under 5 years of age.
  • PCV7 was introduced in 2000.
  • From around 60 cases per 100 000 in 2007, there was a dramatic decrease to less than 5 cases of invasive pneumonia per 100 000 population.
  • There was also 100% reduction in PC7 serotypes.

Now the data among adults aged 65 or more years of age. This is the interesting bit! The PCV7 vaccine was given to children under 5 years only, not in adults. Data referenced from Medscape Education.

  • In 1998-1999 there were 34-35 cases of invasive pneumonia per 100 000 population.
  • 2007 PCV introduced to children under 5 years of age.
  • Between 2000-2007, there was a dramatic decrease in cases of invasive pneumonia in adults aged 65 years or more. In 2007 there were less than 5 cases per 100 population. Remember this group were not given this vaccine (PC7)!
  • There was 92% reduction in PC7 serotypes.

What does this mean?

By introducing the vaccine in children, the increased coverage reduced PCV7 serotype circulating in the community. And as a result, it indirectly prevented invasive pneumonia in adults aged 65 years or more.

What can PNG learn from this?

  1. We need to give vaccines at every opportunity in every children following our national guidelines (instead of waiting for the MCH nurse or MCH clinics to do this!).
  2. We need to improve coverage so that other children who miss out and adults who are at risk are indirectly protected.
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About rodney itaki

I am a medical doctor from Papua New Guinea. My posts focuses on current and emerging health issues in PNG.
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