Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
LANDAVERDE, Mauricio et al. Introducing Hib conjugate vaccine in Chile and Uruguay . Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.5, n.3, pp. 200-206. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999000300022.
In some countries, the invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) has been practically eliminated thanks to vaccination. However, in much of the developing world, meningitides and pneumonias caused by these bacteria continue to be a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality, as well as high hospitalization costs. Because safe and effective conjugate vaccines are now available, the Special Program for Vaccines and Immunization of the Pan American Health Organization has recommended introducing them into the regular vaccination regimen of as many countries as possible. This has been done in Chile and Uruguay, where the Hib vaccine now forms part of the regular vaccination routine. When the vaccine was being introduced, both countries had difficulties they could have avoided if they had known of the experiences of other nations. Therefore, these two countries now offer the lessons they learned to other nations considering introducing the vaccine into their immunization programs. The most important lessons were to: strengthen the epidemiological surveillance system sufficiently in advance of introducing the vaccine; with th support of sicentific societies, present the technical information that justifies introducing the vaccine; seek community backing and acceptance; precisely establish in advance the presentation and dosage of the vaccine that is most appropriate for the country; and be certain to have the political and legal decisions needed to ensure the continuity of Hib vaccination in the future.