As every year, the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) has published its recommendations for vaccination in childhood and adolescence, among which are some vaccines that are not funded by Public Health and have a cost for parents up to almost One thousand euros per child.
It is, again, vaccines against meningococcus B, rotavirus, human papillomavirus (in the case of boys) and a dose of tetravalent against meningitis (serogroups A, C, W, Y) and whooping cough in adolescents.
In its recommendations, the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (CAV-AEP) ensures that to prepare these guidelines it has taken into account “the available evidence on the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of vaccines, as well as the epidemiology of immunopreventable diseases in our country. ”
One of the novelties in this year’s calendar, the coordinator of the CAV-AEP, Francisco Álvarez, tells Efe, is that pediatricians no longer distinguish by colors in their chart between funded and non-funded vaccines because they consider that “children Spaniards must have a maximum calendar “and all of them should be paid by the Public Health.
Congratulations that the Ministry of Health has developed a ‘Common calendar for life’ which has incorporated in recent years pneumococcal and chickenpox vaccination, the 12-year advance of immunization against papillomavirus human (HPV) in girls and against meningococcus (A, C, W, Y).
“The truth is that the Ministry’s calendar is very good, but we have to look for excellence,” Alvarez emphasizes.
Therefore, the pediatricians’ document insists that “some claims remain pending” such as the vaccination of whooping cough in adolescents and that of HPV in 12-year-old boys, antirototavirus and antimeningococcus B in infants, in addition to tetravalent antimeningococcal a 12 months
“It is considered desirable that a collective economic effort be made by the autonomous communities and the Ministry, which will allow the financing of a complete systematic calendar for children living in Spain,” they claim in the document.
The fact that these vaccines are not included in the calendar approved by the Public Health Commission of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System last November represents an approximate cost of between 800 and 1,000 euros per child for each family that wants to follow the recommendations of the AEP.
This amount includes two or three doses of the rotavirus vaccine that is given to infants and costs between 69 and 93 euros depending on the laboratory; up to 4 doses of antimeningococcal B (about 105 euros per unit) for babies; and a dose at 12 months of the tetravalent antimeningococcal (A, C, W, Y) that costs about 55 euros.
To these should be added, only in the case of men, two doses of the HPV vaccine (which Public Health finances only girls), with a cost of between 120 and 155 euros each depending on the laboratory and one of the pertussis for teenagers that is around 30 euros.
Although all these vaccines are not listed in the Health calendar, several communities do fund some of them for their residents.
If they are not financed, pediatricians at least request new forms of financing to make it easier for families to acquire them, such as a co-payment system, which Alvarez believes could be the “most equitable” way for all children to have access.
The CAV coordinator also claims the creation of a National Immunization Committee that includes not only administrations, also patients and scientific societies and whose recommendations “can be followed by everyone.”
The Public Health Commission, formed by the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities, ruled out in March last year the financing of the meningococcal B vaccine, considering that “the criteria regarding effectiveness and safety are not met” and ruled out that the decision was due to economic reasons.
Health did then modify the vaccination schedule against meningitis in order to cover adolescents of more variants of this disease with the incorporation of the tetravalent vaccine (serogroups A, C, W and Y).
The acting department María Luisa Carcedo argued that the epidemiological situation showed a decrease in the number of cases due to meningococcus B, that the vaccine did not protect against all circulating strains in Spain and that it also had a high reactogenicity (fever, pain in the injection area, etc.) when administered at the same time as other vaccines.
As for rotavirus, Health and the Autonomous Communities agreed in November to finance them from the sixth week for premature babies born between 25-27 and 32 weeks of gestation (depending on the drug used) that are clinically stable and without contraindications.
Rotavirus is a cause of acute gastroenteritis in childhood and especially frequent in younger children and is the main cause of hospital admission for acute diarrhea in Spain.
The coordinator of the CAV-AEP is hopeful that Health and the CCAA agree in the near future the inclusion of these vaccines, specifically that of HPV for children and against meningococcus B.