Family Pediatrician and Public Health collaboration, an alliance to increase vaccination coverage: an experience with MenB vaccination in Italy.
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BACKGROUND: Invasive Meningococcal Disease is a severe disease mainly affecting infants and young children. Most infections are caused by serogroups A, B, C, W, X, and Y. In the last 10 years, serogroup B has been the main cause of Invasive Meningococcal Disease in Europe. Recent data resulting from an observational study conducted in Italy show a significant reduction in the number of Invasive Meningococcal Disease cases due to Neisseria meningitidis B after the introduction of vaccine 4CMenB. Thus, the Naples Team of Federation of Italian Primary Care Pediatricians and the Public Health Department started an active collaboration focused on vaccination process management (named "Progetto Via") with the aim of increasing Meningococcal B vaccination coverage. STUDY DESIGN: Source of data is the regional platform "GE.VA.". Every Primary care Pediatrician uses daily to record vaccination activity. This platform is integrated with data entered by operators of the District/Vaccination Center. METHODS: Time: January 2019 - December 2019. The Federation of Italian Primary Care Pediatricians/Naples organized a meeting to identify six coordinators. The pediatricians could choose to counsel in their own offices and send children to the vaccination center or to counsel and vaccinate directly in their own clinics. RESULTS: A total of 78 pediatricians took part in the project: 46 did only counseling and 32 did both counseling and vaccination in their medical clinic. Data obtained show an overall average vaccination coverage growth of about 13% in the first 4 months of the survey, and a further growth of about 11% in the following seven months, with a total growth in the entire period of 24%. The pediatricians' counseling is essential to recover non-compliant subjects, considering both the relationship of trust with the families and the visits already scheduled as an ideal moment for vaccinations' status check. CONCLUSIONS: The project highlights how an effective collaboration between family pediatricians and the Local Health Authority becomes valuable in getting closer to reach the Ministerial goal of 95%. Vaccination coverage increased significantly when family pediatricians supported the activity of vaccine centers in distress in many regional situations. The trust relationship, the hourly availability and the capillary network of family pediatricians' clinics were key elements for the success of this project and were also recognized by parents.
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