APH 2005, 63, 185-198:

Pneumococcal vaccination coverage in elderly people in Belgium.

N. Bossuyt, V. Van Casteren

Keywords: 23-valent pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide vaccine, Belgium, family physicians, Streptococcus pneumoniae, vaccination

Background: The 23-valent pneumoccocal vaccine was officially introduced on the Belgian market in 1995. In Belgium national vaccination guidelines (from the Belgian Superior Health Council) include the total elderly population.

Aim & Methods: The aim of the study was to estimate the pneumococcal
vaccination coverage between 1993 and 2004 among elderly aged 60 and over in Belgium and its regions by means of the sentinel surveillance network of general practitioners.

Results: Since the official introduction of the vaccine, vaccination rates showed two peak moments (1997 and 2002-2003) and were consistently higher in the southern part of the country. The national vaccination coverage among the elderly population steadily increased up to 29% in 2004.

Conclusion: Less than one third of the eligible elderly people were vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine. As a result of differences in regional vaccination policies, more elderly people from the southern, French-speaking part of the country were vaccinated than from the northern, Dutch-speaking part. The overall vaccination coverage among elderly in Belgium was lower compared to countries that have similar vaccination guidelines.