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Minerva Pediatrica 2016 April;68(2):121-6


lingua: Inglese

Second-generation immigrant children: health prevention for a new population in terms of vaccination coverage and health assessment

Pietro FERRARA 1, Letizia ZENZERI 2, Giovanna C. FABRIZIO 1, Antonio GATTO 1, Pio LIBERATORE 1, Luisa GARGIULLO 1, Francesca IANNIELLO 1, Piero VALENTINI 1, Orazio RANNO 1

1 Institute of Pediatrics, “Sacro Cuore” Catholic University, Rome, Italy; 2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy


BACKGROUND: In recent years the total number of foreigners taking up residence in Italy is increasing: the number of children born in Italy to foreign parents currently account for 15% of all babies born in the country. This population is generally referred to as “second-generation immigrants”. We evaluated the health conditions of this particular population by investigating the vaccination coverage and auxological data in a group of foreign children living in a foster care setting and by comparing them to those regarding a group of foreign children living with their own parents.
METHODS: This study was conducted in a foster care association in Rome. The Pediatric Unit of “A. Gemelli” Hospital, Rome, provided all data for comparison. Two groups of children (group 1: 60 children from a foster care association; group 2: 91 children living with their parents; group 3: 112 healthy controls) with similar characteristics were taken into consideration.
RESULTS: There were statistical differences between groups: the administration rate of hexavalent vaccine was significantly higher in group 2 than in group 1 (84.6% vs. 65.0%) (P<0.01); the administration rate of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, again, was significantly higher in group 2 compared to group 1 (69.0% vs. 47.5%) (P<0.05); the administration rate of heptavalent pneumococcal vaccine, however, was higher in group 1 (21/60; 35.0%) than in group 2 (20/91; 21.9%) (P>0.05), although the administration rate of serogroup C meningococcal vaccine was lower in group 1 (10/60; 16.7%) compared to group 2 (17/91; 18.7%) (P>0.05). As for auxological parameters, there were no statistical differences between groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The data presented in this study seem to suggest the need for a special health programme to be promoted by the Italian National Health System in order to address the needs of the particular risk group of second-generation immigrant children. Vaccination coverage should be especially boosted, and pediatricians should have a key role in terms of awareness raising and education of immigrant families.

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