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Title The vaccine gap between Japan and the UK
Author(s) Rumiko Shimazawa and Masayuki Ikeda - Personal Name
Subject Health System and Policy
Publisher Elsevier
Publishing Year 2012
Specific Detail Info Objective: To study and compare the Japanese vaccine policy with the policy in the UK and to discuss factors that may explain the gap in vaccine availability between the two countries. Methods: We analysed approval and immunisation programme data from Japan and the UK for 20 common vaccines, all of which were approved and available from the UK National Health Service. Results: Of these 20 common vaccines, only four were introduced in Japan. Of the 16 unapproved vaccines, 11 were combination vaccines. Indications for the other five unapproved vaccines were the prevention of infection with meningococcus (3 vaccines) and pneumococcus (2 vaccines). Coverage of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and poliomyelitis vaccines was similar between the two countries whereas that of measles and rubella was higher in Japan. Conclusions: These results show that there is still a large gap between Japan and the UK regarding access to 20 common vaccines and immunisation programmes. The keys to closing this gap include: (1) revision of vaccine regulations, (2) amendment of vaccine-related laws to secure funding and cooperation between professionals and public health authorities, and (3) improvement in the perception of vaccines among the general public and mass media.
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