REPORTS FROM THE WORKING GROUPS


Since 2015 the Excellence in Pediatrics Institute (EIP) is working with European and global partners to help overcome the many remaining barriers to vaccination uptake. By working together with associations, organisations, institutions and experts across Adolescent Medicine, General Practice, Pharmacy and Nursing, and uniting behind the EU Commission's Coalition on Vaccination, EIP’s goal is to promote a LifeCourse approach to vaccinations across Europe.

Read below the latest reports from the Working Group Meetings

UPDATES FROM THE EU COMMISSION, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION AND THE VACCINE CONFIDENCE PROJECT

MEETING REPORT 2019

As part of EIP’s work within the EU Coalition on Vaccination, the 3 organizations were asked to present the current global status of vaccinations among different population groups, the coverage rates and the confidence of vaccines, as well as report and comment on the reasons for vaccination hesitancy or refusal and propose possible solutions. The following report summarises the plenary WHO, EU Commission and Vaccine Confidence Project briefings, as well as the subsequent expert Working Group discussions, and proposed action plans that were debated.

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WORKING TOWARDS THE ACCEPTANCE OF A LIFECOURSE IMMUNISATION APPROACH

MEETING REPORT 2019

A true LifeCourse approach to vaccinations is still a long way off and that there needs to be a change in policymakers' mindsets of how vaccines can play a pivotal role in providing protection from the cradle to the grave. Elderly people and high-risk populations, such as infants, immunocompromised individuals and patients with chronic diseases, can be the starting point for a far wider universal coverage. Educational programs informing about vaccines and their benefits on quality of life should be applied. Communication between health care professionals and patients should be improved and communication strategies need to vary according to the age group addressed using different media platforms. 

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COMBATTING ONLINE MISINFORMATION

MEETING REPORT 2019

The Policy Focus Group was dedicated to looking at ways we can better combat online misinformation. During the discussion, the Group concluded that there is currently a lack of appropriate training on vaccines for healthcare professionals, medical students and the general public. It was underlined that there is a need for better and more effective communication towards patients. Regarding social media, there is an urgent need to train health care professionals to use Social Media more effectively and to mobilize them to spread positive messages on the internet. We should provide additional, easy and accessible information regarding the benefits of vaccinating.

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EDUCATIONAL GAPS AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE

MEETING REPORT 2019

The Focus Group was dedicated to improved education and behavioural change, of both healthcare professionals and parents, in relation to vaccine uptake rates around Europe and where barriers to uptake still remain, in terms of policy and approach. It was concluded that although progress has begun, in terms of educating HCPs as effective communicators that can change behaviours, there is still much work that needs to be done in order for doctors and parents to walk the same path towards better prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases.

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REACHING EXCLUDED GROUPS AND POCKETS OF LOW COVERAGE

MEETING REPORT 2019

If we want to maintain the integrity of our immunization programs and absence of disease, we must make sure that we provide appropriate service for Pockets of low immunization wherever they are, and for whatever reasons they occur. Getting from 30% to 70% coverage in a National Program is relatively easy but getting from 70% to 90% is more difficult, but nevertheless, it’s achievable. It is essential that we find strategies that suit our circumstances so we can make sure nobody is disadvantaged through lack of access. 

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ALL-CAUSE MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE: TIME TO EXPAND MENINGOCOCCAL VACCINATION POLICIES TO MATCH CURRENT TRENDS

MEETING REPORT 2019

Meningitis continues to be a serious threat to public health and is a disease that can often result in life-changing side effects. Also, it’s clear that different serogroups require very different vaccination strategies. However, there is still a great debate on which type of vaccine each country should choose to use and what is the appropriate age to focus on. Apart from infants, the Working Group concluded that great care should also be given to adolescents, elderly people and immunocompromised individuals. The current political will should change to take more drastic measures in eliminating meningitis globally.

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WORKING TOWARDS BROAD (LIFECOURSE) AND OPTIMAL (INCREASED VACCINE COVERAGE RATE VCR) FLU PREVENTION

MEETING REPORT 2019

The Group agreed that Healthcare Professionals should do more to promote the benefits of the seasonal flu vaccination, as it can prevent serious complications caused by the influenza virus. Coverage rates among infants and children are still relatively low and this needs to change, as it would help prevent transmitting the virus into other population groups, such as the elderly. Healthcare professionals should be routinely (but not compulsorily) vaccinated, as this would not only protect their health and their patients but would also influence the general public to be also vaccinated.

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THE PATH TOWARDS UNIVERSAL VARICELLA VACCINATION

MEETING REPORT 2019

The Working Group raised several areas that need to be explored in more detail with necessary actions taken to achieve increased varicella vaccination rates across Europe. Vaccine hesitancy is growing and pharmacists, GPs and physicians must play a critical role in trying to convince undecided or wavering parents to vaccinate their children. HCPs should aim at both the mind and the soul by providing the parents with the information necessary on one hand and by sharing real stories on the other to increase vaccination uptake while they utilize social media to overcome the lack of communication between the doctors and the public. 

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ROTAVIRUS VACCINATIONS. WHAT SHOULD CHANGE?

MEETING REPORT 2019

The Working Group raised several areas that need to be explored. Direct costs, indirect costs (both individual and public health perspective) and societal impact must be taken into consideration by policymakers. Rotavirus vaccines can be safely administered in infants living in households with immune-compromised individuals, but all children should receive what’s best for their health. Consequently, the best approach is a universal rotavirus vaccination. The rotavirus vaccine is beneficial across the whole family rather than just the recipient and their contribution to national economic well being is sincerely underestimated.

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