“Croatia Should Improve Vaccination Policy”

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 11, 2018 – The pneumococcal vaccination is compulsory in almost all EU countries except Croatia and Estonia, and professionals agree that it should be made compulsory in order to reduce the incidence of pneumococcal infections and the number of days spent on sick leave and days school children stay out of school, it was said at a round table discussion held in Zagreb.

Experts attending the event, held at Zagreb’s Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health, spoke about the importance of the pneumococcal vaccination, notably of children and people aged above 65 as well as people suffering from chronic diseases.

They warned that the pneumococcus causes inflammation of the throat, sinuses, bronchial tubes, lungs and ear and can also cause meningitis and sepsis.

The bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae is widespread, mostly among children of kindergarten age, but it can be also very dangerous for elderly people who are frequently in contact with children, as they can develop pneumonia.

The head of the Department for Infectious Diseases of Zagreb’s “Dr Fran Mihaljević” hospital for infectious diseases, Goran Tešović, said that children under the age of two and people above 65 were most likely to contract pneumococcal diseases, notably children and elderly with congenital diseases.

Countries that have made the pneumococcal vaccination compulsory are registering significant drops in the incidence of invasive and respiratory diseases caused by the pneumococcus, both among those who have been vaccinated and in the general population, said Tešović.

Bernard Kaić, head of the Epidemiology Service at the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ), said that the Health Ministry and the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) had turned down the HZJZ’s proposal to introduce compulsory pneumococcal vaccination this year, saying that that was not possible. Kaić said that the HZJZ would therefore once again make a proposal to the Health Ministry to make the pneumococcal vaccination compulsory for infants in 2019.

Mirjana Lana Kosanović Ličina of the Andrija Štampar Teaching Institute of Public Health said that pediatricians only vaccinated children suffering from chronic diseases against pneumococcal diseases, and that the cost of vaccination was covered by the HZZO.


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