oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - The Belgian Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) and hepatitis B vaccination
Vaccination is one of the most efficient preventive measures. It saves a huge number of lives, more than any highly sophisticated and very expensive medical intervention. The injection followed by baby's cry is usually well known, but vaccination is much more than that. It is the development and implementation of an evidence-based medical programme, integrated in social organisation, legislation, and rules. It is the control and follow-up of the evolution of coverage and disease level in the population. It is a difficult procedure full of choices and decisions. After the introduction, giving an overview of the vaccination policy in Belgium and some critical factors that are threatening the objectives, data about hepatitis B in Belgium are resumed. As an example of a successful strategy, the vaccination strategy of Kind en Gezin/Child and Family is discussed. Finally, the 2003 increase of hepatitis B vaccination coverage in Flanders, using the Vaccination Database, is reported.
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