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Vaccination challenges and EU cooperation: what is the way forward?

Summary report of a workshop discussion held on 19 November 2018, Palais des Academies, Brussels

On the 19th November 2018, a workshop discussion organized by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM), defined the policy interventions and the medical actions to be taken by the European Commission and Member States to ensure the correct functioning of the vaccination programmes.

Although the vaccination has been one of the most important medical achievement of the 20th Century for the primary prevention of communicable diseases, to date vaccination programmes face major challenges in the EU such us declining coverage, supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy leading to refusal. In this context, the FEAM forum vaccination workshop provided a clear overview on how to improve public dialogue on vaccination and how to address concerns related to it. The overall prospective was given by the opinions from academies, WHO, NGOs, industry, European Commission and its key agency, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The major identified conclusions are described hereafter:

  • Low vaccine uptake is determined by multiple factors such as public hesitancy, health care professional uncertainty, and logistic obstacles to access to health and vaccination services. However, to improve vaccine uptake there is the need for a better community-level research to identify specific problems and determine the options for education, information and engagement.
  • To address demand challenges and system weaknesses, there must be also improvements in training for health care professionals and robust countering of misinformation in public engagement. In this regard, advances to fill knowledge gaps and tools to improve dialogue will come from current EU projects, e.g. the Innovative Medicines Initiative Advance work and the practical objectives for new collaborative work, e.g. Joint Action on Vaccination. Moreover, the tight coordination between public and private sectors could help to improve vaccine uptake, ensure security of vaccine supply, identify and pursue research and innovation priorities for vaccine quality and for addressing unmet medical needs.

The EU academies of science and medicines and their networks will continuously bringing together all required disciplines and expertises to share data and perspectives and to clarify issues, to raise public, professional and policy-maker awareness, and to support and inform European Commission initiatives in sustainably tackling vaccine hesitancy, strengthening national programmes and supporting collaboration.

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Final agenda and presentations

Final agenda

FEAM

1. Van der Meer_EASAC

2. Catchpole_ECDC

3. Nielsen_WHO

4. Larson_IHME

5. Villari_LaSapienza

6. Visic_VE

7. Chene_INSERM

8. Votta_ACN

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About the FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum

The FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum provides a platform for discussion on key policy issues for the biomedical community.

The Forum is an initiative from the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM). It aims to bring together representatives from academia, research charities, industry, European and national trade associations and professional bodies, regulators, public health bodies, and patient and consumers groups. If you would like further information on the FEAM European Biomedical Policy Forum or becoming a partner, please contact info@feam.eu

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