15-02-2024

New National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis approved

In order to ensure that population is adequately protected against vaccine-controlled infectious diseases and to control the spread of these diseases in society, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has approved the National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis for 2024-2028.

“The implementation of the National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis is an ongoing commitment of the State, which includes vaccination of children and adults at public expense, as well as other activities related to vaccination, such as incorporation of new vaccines into vaccination programmes, implementation of the targets set by the international organisations, etc. Many countries around the world are implementing such programmes, and Lithuania is no exception. The aim of the National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis is to ensure collective immunity for society and individual protection for each person against infectious diseases, which can be very dangerous and even fatal in susceptible organisms,” Ginreta Megelinskienė, Adviser of the Health Promotion Unit of the Department of Public Health of MoH, says.

Following standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), good vaccination indices are when 90-95% of the target group in the country and its regions has been vaccinated. Vaccination coverage according to Lithuanian Children’s Preventive Vaccination Calendar until 2009 was sufficiently high (94-99% of those vaccinated in different age groups) to control infectious diseases for which vaccines have been created. However, between 2010 and 2022, Lithuania has seen a significant decline in vaccination coverage for all infectious diseases. Considering this, the main priority of the National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis at the time is to ensure sufficient protection of residents against vaccine-controlled infectious diseases by increasing vaccination coverage.

Vaccination coverage for 2-year-old children against measles, rubella and epidemic parotitis has decreased from 96.1% to 86.5% in 2010-2022, and from 94.2% to 86.5% among seven-year-olds over the same period. Three cases of rubella have been reported in Lithuania in the last decade: one person fell ill in 2018, other cases were recorded in 2022 and 2023.

The implementation of the National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis for 2019-2023 has been affected by COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Nevertheless, the goals and objectives of the programme have been achieved, and new vaccine indications have been added or modified, such as:

•    The list of people, who can be vaccinated against pneumococcal infection free of charge, has been expanded from 11 January 2023 to include, without restrictions, all at-risk people with bronchial asthma or diabetes, and from 25 May 2023 to include all people aged 75 and older;
•    Starting 1 February 2023, vaccination against human papillomavirus infection with a nine-valent vaccine is introduced at public expense, and vaccination is provided for both sexes – boys and girls from the age of 11;
•    Decisions are taken on the publicly funded vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis for the population aged 50-55 years from 1 September 2024;
•    Expanding influenza risk groups by providing for publicly funded vaccination of children aged 2-7 years from the 2024-2025 flu season.

The National Programme of Immunoprophylaxis for 2024-2028 plans to increase vaccination coverage, to consider the inclusion of new vaccines in the Children’s Preventive Vaccination Calendar, to assess new at-risk groups, that could be vaccinated at public expense, to improve monitoring of vaccination coverage, to implement surveillance of adverse reactions and to provide information to the population on adverse reactions to vaccines, etc.

Further details of the programme are available HERE.

Communication Department of MoH

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