European Commission publishes the summary report from the DG SANCO ‘Conference on Childhood Immunisation: progress, challenges and priorities for further action’ held in Luxembourg last year on 16-17 October 2012. In the light of recent measles outbreaks in the EU Member States and growing concerns around changing attitudes towards vaccines and vaccination, the conference aimed to take stock of EU initiatives undertaken as a follow-up to the Council conclusions on childhood immunisation adopted in June 2011.
The report highlights the importance of implementing innovative supply-side policies capable of facilitating access to and delivery of vaccines in order to drive up vaccination coverage. It is advocated that these should include measures targeting healthcare professionals, such as e-training tools and guidance on vaccination as well as free delivery of vaccines to under-served groups independently of legal or insurance status. Healthcare professionals play a major role in communicating about vaccination and represent a trustworthy source of information for parents, and should thus be empowered to improve access and delivery to members of the public.
In addition, participants in the conference also suggested the set-up of standardised vaccination cards. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is currently developing a website on vaccination expected to include a vaccination schedule platform that should facilitate comparison of vaccination schedules across countries. The report also mentions that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is working on the optimisation of schedules to facilitate vaccine development and reduce the number of clinical trials involving children.
The full report is available here.