Vaccination of children in Ukraine: it is repeated without a card, measles worries

If Ukrainian children do not have proof of compulsory vaccination, it will not be enough for their parents to guarantee them in writing with a solemn declaration. In most cases, they will likely need to repeat vaccinations at least in some form. This follows from information from the Association of Pediatric Practitioners and the Czech Society of Vaccinology.

“Such a procedure applies not only to Ukrainian children, but to all those who cannot prove whether they are properly vaccinated or not. For example, entry into a kindergarten is actually conditional on the proof of compulsory basic vaccination. If the legal representative does not prove it, the child is considered unvaccinated and it is decided how and when to be vaccinated”, described doctor Jana Kulhánková, vice-president of the Association of general practitioners for children and adolescents.

According to her, it is not enough for a child to pass an antibody test, for example, instead of being vaccinated. This is also confirmed by the head of the Czech Vaccine Society, Roman Chlíbek. “Such a test is meaningless, inconclusive and says nothing. We do not recommend performing antibody tests as part of vaccination,” he said.

Health Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) did not completely reject this variant in response to the List of Reports question, although he described it as the least suitable. “The World Health Organization recommends starting vaccinations again from the beginning according to the Czech schedule. Of course, there is a variant – but there is a lot to the decision of the doctor who performs the vaccination – to check for antibodies and follow them. Depending on the conditions, an optimal solution will be found,” he said.

Depending on the war, the European Union will also try to obtain the documentation centrally through government structures in the future.

Vaccinologists recommended in early March that all refugees from Ukraine be entitled to free vaccinations according to the Czech schedule, including optional vaccines. They are currently working on another best practices update.

Compulsory vaccinations in the Czech Republic

Hexavaccine

Regular (compulsory) vaccination of children with the hexavaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, viral hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae b and poliomyelitis is practiced with three basic doses and a booster dose from the 9th week (3rd month) of age.

Combined vaccine against rubella, measles and mumps

Regular (compulsory) vaccination of children against rubella, measles and mumps is carried out with a live vaccine, 13-18 a month after the birth of the child. Revaccination is carried out in one dose in the 5th-6th year of the child.

Combined diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine

Revaccination against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis is given at 5-6 years of age.

Combined diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliomyelitis vaccine

Revaccination against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and poliomyelitis is carried out in grades 10-11. (ockovacicentrum.cz)

“Unfortunately, parents can confuse, they may not know exactly what the child was vaccinated against, they confuse vaccines or diseases. Therefore, relying solely on their declarations could be somewhat risky. There are less risks to give them at least one dose of vaccine and to be safer”, explains the head of vaccinologists.

According to him, it is not a health problem, he added, referring to various vaccination schedules abroad or the common practice of additional benefits when traveling to countries where the incidence of the disease is higher.

Doctor Kulhánková recalls that a copied or photographed copy of the original is sufficient as proof of vaccination for refugees. “If they can find vaccines through family members in Ukraine, all they have to do is send photo ID. In one part of Ukraine, the internet connection works and it should not be such a problem. If not, it is necessary to find a child practitioner and solve the problem. In some localities, doctors no longer have the capacity to support long-term care. But there is there is definitely room for acute treatment and support,” he adds.

Measles and tuberculosis

The reason why experts deal with the vaccination of refugees is, among other things, the different epidemic situation in the Czech Republic and Ukraine. In addition to protecting the health of refugees, it is important to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ukraine has the fourth highest incidence of tuberculosis among countries in the European region. Current data is not available, for example in 2020, but more than 17,000 new cases have been diagnosed in the country. The incidence of treatment for highly resistant forms of tuberculosis is also high (4,490 cases compared to 8 in the Czech Republic).

However, since 2016, Ukrainian children are compulsorily vaccinated against tuberculosis at the maternity ward; in 2020, according to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), almost 89% received the vaccine.

According to doctors, measles is currently a greater risk. Between 2017 and 2019, a large-scale outbreak of the disease took place in Ukraine, with more than 100,000 reported cases and several dozen deaths. “Cases of measles were also repeatedly imported into the Czech Republic from Ukraine in the past. In 2004-2020, they accounted for 50% of all imported cases. In the years 2018-2019 there was a measles outbreak among Ukrainian citizens in the Czech Republic as well,” the vaccinologists said.

According to them, vaccination coverage in Ukraine is low. “In 2020, the vaccination coverage was 81% against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, 82% against measles, rubella and mumps and 80% (2021) against polio, poliomyelitis”, specify- they. be significantly lower.

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