The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), the Brussels-based organisation representing the medical professionals and national medical associations across Europe, has recently published its policy on childhood immunisation. Vaccines Europe welcomes the adoption of this paper as healthcare professionals at all levels play a crucial role not only in the delivery of vaccination but also in promoting their effective use according to national guidelines and population target group-specific needs. Adherence to national immunisation recommendations on the part of healthcare professionals is also important to grant protection to vulnerable patients and the elderly in the healthcare setting due to the weakness of their immune system.
The document stresses the importance of ensuring compliance with immunisation programmes on the part of healthcare professionals on the one hand, and of making HCPs active advocates of vaccination and of the safety of vaccines on the other. One of the proposed means to do so is commitment to training at all levels on vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications for HCPs. It is also suggested, among others, that HCPs should play a role in monitoring the implementation of national schedules, and that positive and trustworthy online communications should be easily retrievable through web search engines.
Vaccines Europe is finalising a literature review study consolidating post-2009 evidence in the EU27 on attitudes towards vaccines and vaccination. Preliminary findings point to the fact that only some of vaccination hesitant behaviours can be characterised by a lack of information. Behaviours appear to be primarily permeated by issues of trust or mistrust. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that healthcare professionals play a paramount role in this regard and remain one of the most trustworthy sources of information for the general public amidst growing mistrust in the media and other traditional means of communication. Trusted vaccine information – including through online media – is thus key and should be a multi-stakeholder effort implemented through a coordinated strategy and with an active role to be played by HCPs.