Varicella vaccination coverage of children under two years of age in Germany

Reuss, Annicka M.; Feig, Marcel; Kappelmayer, Lutz; Siedler, Anette; Eckmanns, Tim; Poggensee, Gabriele
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p502
Academic Journal
Background: Since July 2004, routine varicella vaccination is recommended by the German Standing Vaccination Committee in Germany. Health Insurance Funds started to cover vaccination costs at different time points between 2004 and 2006 in the Federal States. Nationwide representative data on vaccination coverage against varicella of children under two years of age are not available. We aimed to determine varicella vaccination coverage in statutory health insured children under two years of age in twelve German Federal States using data from associations of statutory health insurance physicians (ASHIPs), in order to investigate the acceptance of the recommended routine varicella vaccination programme. Methods: We analysed data on varicella vaccination from 13 of 17 ASHIPs of the years 2004 to 2007. The study population consisted of all statutory health insured children under two years of age born in 2004 (cohort 2004) or 2005 (cohort 2005) in one of the studied regions. Vaccination coverage was determined by the number of children vaccinated under 2 years of age within the study population. Results: Varicella vaccination coverage of children under two years of age with either one dose of the monovalent varicella vaccine or two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine increased from 34% (cohort 2004) to 51% (cohort 2005) in the studied regions (p < 0.001). More than half of the vaccinated children of cohort 2004 and two third of cohort 2005 were immunised at the recommended age 11 to 14 months. The level of vaccination coverage of cohort 2004 was significantly associated with the delay in introduction of cost coverage since the recommendation of varicella vaccination (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our study shows increasing varicella vaccination coverage of young children, indicating a growing acceptance of the routine varicella vaccination programme by the parents and physicians. We recommend further monitoring of vaccination coverage using data from ASHIPs to investigate acceptance of the routine vaccination programmes over time.


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