How many children were vaccinated in 2015?
More and more children in Norway are being vaccinated and now the vast majority of children and adolescents have taken the vaccines recommended in the Childhood Immunisation Programme. This comes from the national vaccination coverage statistics for 2015.
Every vaccine administered as part of the programme is registered in the national immunisation registry, SYSVAK, from data reported by public health clinics. The vaccination coverage statistics show the number of children who have been vaccinated according to the recommendations in the immunisation programme.
"We are delighted that the positive trend of vaccination coverage among children is continuing. The three cohorts highlighted in this year's statistics were offered vaccines during a period of intense vaccine debate in the media," says Sigrun Kongsrud, Team Leader for SYSVAK.
This year, vaccination coverage is being published at a national and county level for three age groups: 2-, 9- and 16-year-olds.
"Vaccination coverage remains high for vaccines in the Childhood Immunisation Programme. In 2015, we saw a continued positive trend for the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) in which almost 80 per cent of girls took the vaccine," says Kongsrud.
Each municipality received their coverage figures by letter for data protection reasons.
The municipal statistics are published within the Municipal Health Department statistics bank (http://khs.fhi.no), dating back to 2002. The official vaccination coverage is presented in such a way that individuals cannot be identified.
"The public health nurses are performing a tremendous effort in the municipalities which is reflected in the stable and positive trends shown in the national vaccination coverage statistics. We know they have busy schedules with many challenges and priorities between important tasks. We want to thank them all for their excellent collaboration. The national statistics are the result of good co-operation at all levels," concludes Kongsrud.
Efforts continue for high coverage in Childhood Immunisation Programme
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health conducts continuous quality assurance of vaccination coverage through dialogue with municipalities and public health clinics. In 2015, in collaboration with the Directorate of Health, the institute also conducted a survey via the county municipal officers about each municipality's challenges to good immunisation coverage.
Dialogue with the municipalities and public health nurses are particularly important for the national immunisation registry to reflect vaccination coverage.
Feedback to the Directorate of Health confirms that the challenges affecting immunisation coverage are primarily technical and are related to the practical tools that nurses rely upon; an electronic medical record system, an updated and accessible population registry, and effective and stable communication between the medical record system and SYSVAK.
"The technical challenges must be resolved in collaboration with the medical record system suppliers, the Directorate for e-Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health," says Kongsrud.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health will identify necessary interventions based on the feedback from the county municipal officers.
Vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
The method used to calculate MMR vaccination coverage for 16-year-olds has been amended. Previously, a 16-year-old was considered to be fully vaccinated if they had had one dose of vaccine MMR within the past 9 years, while today they are required to have two doses before age 16.
The statistics for 2015 are not directly comparable to previous years in terms of MMR for 16-year-olds (born 1999). The amendment suggests an apparent decline of 3 per cent vaccination coverage for MMR compared with the previous year. There is no change in the proportion of children who received two doses of MMR vaccine.
Stable and high vaccination coverage
The table below shows extracts from the vaccination coverage statistics at a national level.