More than 15,000 Children in Croatia Unvaccinated

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The growing anti-vaccination drive threatens to cause epidemics.

In the last five generations of preschoolers, as many as 15,881 children in Croatia have not been vaccinated against measles, rubella and mumps, it was said at a vaccination conference organised by the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) and professional medical societies, reports Večernji List on April 15, 2018.

Bernard Kaić from the HZJZ said that the number of unvaccinated children in the period from 2012 to 2017 means that about eight percent of pre-school children have not been vaccinated against measles, rubella and mumps. “If the trends do not change, we will have epidemics. In fact, I am surprised that we have not already had one. This is very worrying because the counties with the lowest vaccination rates also have a large absolute number of measles-sensitive children, and this percentage is large enough to cause an epidemic,” said Kaić.

The counties with most unvaccinated children are Dubrovnik-Neretva, Split-Dalmatia and Primorje-Gorski Kotar. In Dubrovnik, only 40.8 percent of children were vaccinated against measles, and in the county, there are 6,340 unvaccinated children. Two years ago, 78 percent of children in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County were vaccinated, but the percentage has been significantly reduced since then.

In Split-Dalmatia County, the decline was stopped last year, and the vaccination coverage remains at 78 percent. In Rijeka, it is 80 percent, and in Osijek 87 percent.

The significant decline in vaccination rates started about five years ago. Parents who are deciding against vaccinating their children talk about alleged possible consequences, but the physicians explain that there is no connection between vaccines and particular illnesses which parents say that vaccines can cause. Similar trends are happening in many other countries.

Despite the falling vaccination rates, experts have continued to advocate for the introduction of new vaccines. The Ministry of Health is currently considering a proposal to introduce a pneumococcal vaccine, starting from next year.

Kaić also spoke about changes to the recommendations for vaccination of healthcare workers. Vaccines against diphtheria and tetanus will be given to the medical staff working in departments for newborn babies.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Ivana Rimac Lesički).


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