Italian Ministry of Health has published the official data relating to vaccination coverage for 2019.

Vaccination coverage rates represent the indicator par excellence of vaccination strategies as they provide information on their actual implementation and the conscious adherence of citizens to vaccination programs. Like every year, in this second half of 2020 the data relating to vaccination coverage up to 31st December 2019 have been published by the Italian Ministry of Health. The coverage trends show a slight improvement compared to previous years but the data recorded are not yet fully adequate.

Vaccination coverage (VC),whose values are constantly monitored by the Ministry of Health, act as an indicator used to evaluate the implementation of vaccination strategies carried out nationwide. No later than 15th April every year, Regions and Autonomous Provinces compile a standard survey model with the data relating to specific birth cohorts (24 months, 36 months, 48 months and 5-6 years) which include all vaccination coverage values reported up to 31st December of the previous year. The data is processed by Office 5 of the General Directorate for Health Prevention which publishes them on the website of the Ministry of Health

This year, as in previous years,the regions sent the data relating to the 2017, 2016 and 2015 cohorts (basic cycles by 24 months and ‘catch-ups’ by 36 and 48 months), 2012 and 2011 (for pre-schoolers at 6 years and ‘catch-up’ at 8 years), 2001 and 2003 (boosters in adolescence at 16 and 18).

In detail:

A) The national vaccination coverage at 24 months (for the 2017 birth cohort), as shown in Fig. 1, depicts:

    - regarding poliomyelitis vaccination, coverage rates equal to 95.01%, -0.08% compared to 2018, but with 14 regions that exceed 95% and 3 that are close to reaching it (Autonomous Province of Trento, Marche and Puglia);

    - an improvement in coverage for the first dose of the measles vaccine, which shows + 1.27% compared to the previous year, with 9 Regions exceeding 95% (Piedmont, Lombardy, Autonomous Province of Trento, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and Abruzzo) and only one Region (Autonomous Province of Bolzano) with a vaccination coverage rate below 90%;

    - a significant increase in vaccination coverage for chickenpox, reaching 90.50% in 2019, + 16.27% compared to 2018; for the rotavirus vaccine which for the year 2019 records + 6.71% (19.44% in 2018 versus 26.15% in 2019) and for the meningococcal B vaccination which reaches 68.98% of vaccination coverage in 2019 with +22, 92% compared to the previous year.

    - a slight increase also for anti-pneumococcal vaccination which exceeds the vaccination coverage recorded for 2018 (91.89%) by 0.11%, reaching 92.00% coverage for 2019.

Fig. 1 Childhood vaccinations at 24 months. Year 2019 (2017 cohort)

B) National vaccination coverage rates at 36 months (for the 2016 birth cohort) as shown in Fig. 2, confirms the positive trend recorded for coverage at 24 months. In particular, the data show higher values than those relating to vaccination coverage detected for the same birth cohort at 24 months the previous year; for example:

    - the 2016 birth cohort has anti-polio vaccination coverage of 96.17% at 36 months, compared to 95.09% recorded the previous year at 24 months (+ 1.08%);

    - this increase is even more evident in the case of the measles vaccine whose values increase by 1.98%, increasing from 93.22% (VC at 24 months as of December 31st, 2018) to 95.20% (VC at 36 months as of 31st December 2019).

    - the other vaccinations contained in the hexavalent vaccine and anti-mumps and rubella vaccines also exceed 95% coverage.

Fig. 2 Vaccinazioni dell’età Pediatrica a 36 mesi. Anno 2019 (coorte 2016)

C) As regards pre-school vaccinations, generally administered at 5-6 years (for the 2012 birth cohort), as shown in Fig. 3 there is a decreasing trend. In particular, the following can be observed:

- a decrease of 1.62% for the second dose (complete cycle) of the measles vaccine (89.20% in 2018 versus 87.58% in 2019);

- a decrease of 2.09% for the fourth dose of the anti-polio vaccine (90.71% in 2018 versus 88.62% in 2019).