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Euro Surveill. 2009 Sep 3;14(35). pii: 19321.

Universal varicella vaccination in the Sicilian paediatric population: rapid uptake of the vaccination programme and morbidity trends over five years.

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Department of Hygiene, University of Catania, Italy.


Following the licensure of the Oka/Merck varicella vaccine in Italy in January 2003, the Sicilian health authorities launched a universal vaccination programme in all nine Local Health Units. A two-cohort vaccination strategy was adopted to minimise the shift of the mean age of varicella occurrence to older age groups, with the goal of vaccinating with one dose at least 80% of children in their second year of life and 50% of susceptible adolescents in their 12th year of life. Two studies were implemented in parallel to closely monitor vaccination coverage as well as varicella incidence.

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