On 22 October 2018, European Academies Advisory Council (EASAC) and FEAM organised a workshop on the scientific and social perspectives of vaccination, hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The event was moderated by Prof. George Griffin, President of FEAM and Emeritus Professor of Infectious Diseases, St George’s Hospital, University of London and by Prof. Jos van der Meer, Immediate Past President of EASAC and Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Radboud UMC.
Vaccination has long been considered one of the greatest advances in medicine, since it was shown to be the major way to combat communicable diseases in humans and animals. In recent years vaccination has become a matter of controversy in which doctors, scientists and vaccine producers are under attack by ill-informed sceptics. This conference aimed at identifying the scientific aspects relevant to future vaccine development and vaccine policy.
Conclusions show that vaccines play a crucial role in medicine in preventing infection and saving lives. The event had successfully met its objectives of gathering together key scientific and social perspectives on the topic of vaccinations. It had also delivered very strong and clear messages about the challenges faced and some of the steps that can be taken in this highly important area of health and social policy.