Meningococcal serogroup B vaccine in Italy: state-of-art, organizational aspects and perspectives


Meningococcal serogroup B vaccine
meningococcal diseases
regional immunization schedules


Neisseria meningitidis causes severe invasive meningococcal diseases (IMDs) in humans including meningitis and septicemia, responsible for serious clinical conditions and leading to life-long disabilities and death. Serogroup B dominates IMDs burden in Italy, accounting for over 60% of total cases. On January 2013 the European Medicine Agency (EMA) licensed the first serogroup B meningococcal (Men B) vaccine in Europe. A number of European countries and Regions have introduced the new Men B vaccine in their immunization schedule, including Italy. In this paper we present the state of art, related critical issues and future perspectives of Men B vaccine introduction in Italy, in the context of the most recent available epidemiological data. In particular, we systematically assess the ongoing processes in the 8 Italian regions and one autonomous province that have already introduced Men B vaccine. With the new National Vaccine Prevention Plan including active Men B vaccine offer about to be adopted, it is of fundamental importance to gather further evidence on Men B vaccine clinical effectiveness, duration of protection and cost-effectiveness. Italian regions are called to organize and manage Men B immunization programs. Careful consideration will need to be devoted on timing, doses, and co-administration with other vaccines but also to economic assessments and strengthened communication to the general public. Our data will help to plan, implement and evaluate Men B immunization programmes in other Italian and international settings.


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