STIKO publishes revised vaccination recommendations

STIKO publishes revised vaccination recommendations

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New vaccination recommendations from STIKO - pneumococcal protection in the foreground
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has published its current vaccination recommendations. The focus is on clarification of protection against pneumococci. Among other things, these bacteria can cause severe pneumonia.

New vaccination recommendations published
The Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute (STIKO) has published its new recommendations in the "Epidemiological Bulletin" (34/2016). According to a communication from the RKI, the focus is on revising the recommendations for pneumococcal vaccination for the elderly and other vulnerable risk groups. According to the information, the STIKO also provides information on reducing pain and stress reactions when vaccinated for the first time.

The main cause of bacterial pneumonia
Pneumococci are pathogens that in many cases cause infections such as sinusitis or otitis media. However, potentially life-threatening diseases such as meningitis and pneumonia as well as blood poisoning can also be attributed to these bacteria.

"Pneumococci are the main cause of bacterial pneumonia in Europe. STIKO estimates that more than 5,000 people in Germany die every year from the consequences of pneumococcal disease," write the experts. Accordingly, children under the age of two, people over the age of 60, and children, adolescents and adults with certain basic diseases, for example people with an immune deficiency or with chronic heart or lung diseases, are particularly at risk.

Second vaccine available
As stated in the communication, in addition to the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23), which has been approved since 1983, the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) has been available for several years for the vaccination of adults. This has prompted STIKO to revise its recommendations for pneumococcal vaccination for adults.

Nothing changes for children under the age of two
After thorough analysis of all available studies, STIKO therefore recommends that all persons aged 60 years and over be vaccinated with PPSV23 alone. PPSV23 has the advantage over PCV13 of protecting against a significantly broader spectrum of the more than 90 pneumococcal serotypes. Additional vaccination with PCV13 only makes sense for people with an immunodeficiency and a few other risk groups.

The routine vaccination with conjugate vaccine is still recommended for children under two years of age because they do not develop an adequate immune response after vaccination with PPSV23.

Better implementation of the recommendations is desirable
"According to the Infection Protection Act, the recommendations of the STIKO are still the basis for the public recommendations of the federal states. From this it becomes clear that the public interest in a vaccination is of great importance in the decisions of the STIKO ”, writes the STIKO chair Dr. Jan Leidel in a message.

According to the experts, however, better implementation of the vaccination recommendations is urgently desirable. Only 31 percent of seniors (aged 65 to 79 years) are said to have been vaccinated against pneumococci. This is shown by data from the RKI's German Adult Health Study DEGS. The pneumococcal vaccination can be carried out on the same vaccination date as the flu vaccination, which is also recommended for the elderly and for chronically ill people of all ages.

Reduced pain and stress vaccination
For the first time, STIKO provides advice on reducing pain and stress reactions when vaccinated. “It is not uncommon for pain and stress reactions to occur when vaccines are injected. The fear or worry about possible pain can adversely affect the attitude towards the doctor's visit, vaccination and the acceptance of vaccinations for a lifetime for both children and their parents, ”says the current bulletin.

There are now several evidence-based recommendations for pain and stress-reduced vaccination. It lists certain injection techniques, painkillers, and age-based distraction methods. "We would like to encourage the medical profession to take these tips on pain-free vaccination into account in everyday practice and thus to promote vaccination acceptance among the population," said the experts. (ad)

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