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Vaccine. 2011 Nov 28;29(51):9480-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.10.022. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

Impact of universal vaccination on the epidemiology of varicella in Veneto, Italy.

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Direction of Prevention, Veneto Region, Venice, Italy.


In 2005, universal varicella vaccination was introduced in the Veneto region, Italy. We examined trends in varicella incidence and hospitalization rates before and after vaccine introduction, and applied statistical models to assess vaccine effectiveness. Varicella incidence rates for 2000-2008 were calculated from the mandatory regional surveillance data and from a special surveillance system based on reports from a sample of family pediatricians that during the study period followed more than 40,000 children. To evaluate hospital admission rates, we analyzed the regional hospital discharge registry. The vaccine coverage rate was 6.8% in the 2004 birth-cohort and 78.6% in the 2008 cohort. Varicella incidence in 0-14 year-olds was 6136.8/100,000 person-years in 2000 and 4004.8 in 2008; hospitalization rates were 18.7 and 8.4. Incidence rates significantly decreased 2.5 years after beginning the universal vaccination, while hospitalization rates showed a significant decrease one year earlier. There was a remarkable decline of both varicella incidence and hospitalizations especially in 1-4 year-old children. This study confirms the positive impact of universal vaccination.

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