The vaccine against bronchiolitis is also intended for pregnant women and the elderly

The vaccine against bronchiolitis is also intended for pregnant women and the elderly

Catalonia plans to vaccinate against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, which causes 80% of bronchiolitis cases) as well as pregnant women and people over 60 years of age. This season, children up to six months of age were immunized for the first time and the strategy was a resounding success: Ministry of Health data indicate a reduction of up to 87% in hospitalizations and up to 90% of income in these hospitals. the palace. The previous season, the fall of 2022, it was respiratory syncytial virus that saturated pediatric and emergency departments.

“As a future strategy, vaccination of pregnant women and the elderly is being evaluated. But it will not be a substitute for immunization of children,” explains the Minister of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, to the newspaper EL PERIÓDICO. Yesterday, Cabezas participated in a symposium on respiratory syncytial virus at Sant Joan de Déu Hospital (Esplugues de Llobregat). Cabezas said RSV, although “more dangerous” in children, can “destabilize” underlying diseases in older people and give them respiratory infections. He said, “Vaccinating the elderly and pregnant women is an option for the future and is a matter under study.”

More than 26 thousand children

Since September, SLOT has already vaccinated nearly 26,000 children with this antibody, and its impact on children's health and the health system has been remarkable. “We come from a previous campaign in which all the infection control centers, hospitals and emergency rooms were extremely overwhelmed with bronchiolitis, so we knew this vaccine would be very welcomed by both families and healthcare workers,” Cabezas explained.

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90% of eligible children received it (infants up to 6 months and under 2 years of risk). Despite the fact that the virus “spread a lot” this year, the burden on the system was much less. “Having for the first time an antibody that lasts for five months, which is what lasts a wave of the epidemic, has helped,” Cabezas said.

All autonomous communities have carried out bronchiolitis immunization this year, each with its own characteristics. The Catalan strategy, which began in October, consists of vaccinating those born between April and September 2023 at the CAP and those born between October and April 2024 in the same hospital, immediately before the mother is discharged after giving birth.

Children born in private hospitals were also vaccinated (30% of Catalan minors are born in private health care institutions). Spain is one of the few countries in the world that offers this vaccine. “We didn’t know what this strategy would look like in reality because we only had data from clinical trials,” Cabezas added. “But reality confirms what we thought.”

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