Europe & Vaccines – For effective vaccination policies in Europe

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      Vaccination is the primary instrument for prevention in public health. Thanks to vaccination programmes, life expectancy in the world is one of humanity’s greatest achievements. According to the WHO, vaccination can prevent between 2 and 3 million deaths per year worldwide.

      Nowadays, several European and neighbouring countries are facing the return of some epidemics thought to be long forgotten, the resurgence of which is mainly due to a lack of vaccination coverage.

      In an increasingly digitalized and introverted society, misinformation is on the rise, social media pose a new challenge when it comes to maintaining confidence in immunization. However, the use of digital tools would facilitate and improve vaccination programmes throughout Europe, using interoperability of systems, monitoring data, procurement and a real-time supply status, preventing waste, all as a way of fighting fire with fire.

      Our policies and scientists must have a clear and unambiguous narrative about the need for vaccination and its coverage. The collective interest of vaccination should be more clearly highlighted. Providing reliable information to the general public and dispelling myths about vaccines and vaccination through the exchange of good practices is key to ensure effective public health.

      For several years now, the sub-optimal vaccination coverage observed in Europe has led the European Commission to step up its vaccination efforts by working closely with Member States. In December 2018, the Council adopted a recommendation to strengthen EU cooperation against vaccine-preventable diseases. Subsequently, it established a roadmap to ensure better cooperation between Member States. A feasibility study on the development of a common EU vaccination map was launched this year. A draft common vaccination document, which could help EU citizens to continue their vaccination in the Member States, is expected to be completed in 2022.

      Europe plays an important role in the production of these vaccines. Several European countries have experienced a shortage of vaccine production and supply which has hampered the implementation of their vaccination programmes. The Commission is considering the creation of a European virtual data warehouse on vaccine needs, which could facilitate the voluntary exchange of information on available supplies. This would ensure that the necessary measures are in place in the event of a pandemic.

      Vaccination policies fall within the purview of national authorities. However, the EU must ensure fair access to vaccines for all EU citizens through free distribution in order to remove major financial barriers, combat disinformation and build confidence in vaccines, facilitating a vaccination pathway from an early age. Vaccination is first and foremost about education for all of us. In this issue of The European Files, we capture the responses of our institutions and hope to encourage a public discussion faithful to the greater good.

      Editor-in-Chief 

      Laurent ULMANN

       

      TABLE OF CONTENTS
      • The benefits of digital tools for improving immunisation programmes
        Krista Kiuru, Finnish Minister for Family Affairs and Social Services
      • To eliminate measles in Germany: The Measles Protection Act. Requirement for all children entering school or kindergarten to have both measles vaccinations
        Jens Spahn, Germany’s Federal Health Minister
      • Place vaccination at the forefront of the public space
        Agnès Buzyn, French Minister for Solidarity and Health, Extract from the article in European immunisation week
      • Dedicated supra-structural vaccination organizations: the driver of a successful vaccination schemes
        Maggie De Block, Belgian Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health and Asylum Policy and Migration
      • Promote vaccination, particularly the childhood immunisation programme and the HPV vaccine for both girls and boys
        Simon Harris, Irish Minister for Health
      • European Commission roadmap on vaccination
        Anne Bucher, Director-General DG SANTE, European Commission
      • A cancer vaccine: how to eradicate virus-related cancers in Europe?
        Véronique Trillet-Lenoir, Oncologist and MEP, Renew Europe, France, Member of the ENVI Committee
      • Clinical Evaluation of vaccines
        Prof. Guido Rasi, Director Executif of EMA
      • Improving pan-european collaboration in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases
        Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director
      • Sustain vaccination programmes through a healthier vaccine ecosystem in an interconnected Europe
        Corinne Bardone, Pharm D, Head of Global Vaccines Public Affairs, for Polio, Pertussis and Hib containing Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur
        Christina Klein, Manager, Global Vaccine Public Affairs, Sanofi Pasteur
        Florence Baron-Papillon, Pharm D, Head of Public Affairs Europe for Vaccines, Sanofi Pasteur
      • Looking ahead to the next decade for immunization in Europe
        Dr. Siddhartha Datta, Programme Manager, Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization programme, WHO Regional Office for Europe
        Ms. Catharina de Kat, Communications, Web and Information Officer, Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization programme, WHO Regional Office for Europe
      • Securing a robust vaccine sector in Europe
        Magdalena Rodriguez de Azero, Executive Director, Vaccines Europe
      • Harnessing the power of partnerships to develop life-saving vaccines
        Dr. Pierre Meulien, Executive Director, Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
      • Vaccination, Population Health, and European Leadership
        David E. Bloom, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts USA
        Daniel Cadarette, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts USA
      • Raising awareness about the importance of vaccination in Europe for public health
        Monika Beňová, MEP (S&D Group), Member of the ENVI Committee
      • Is Europe Prepared for the Future of Vaccines Innovation?
        Dr. Emmanuel Hanon, Senior Vice President, Head of R&D, GSK Vaccines
        Dr. Rino Rappuoli, Chief Scientist, GSK Vaccines
        Dr. Philippe Denoel, Head of External R&D, GSK Vaccines
      • Vaccination for patients with chronic conditions
        Marco Greco, President of European Patients’ Forum (EPF)
      • Vaccine hesitancy: public health emergency
        Rory Palmer, MEP (S&D Group), Member of the ENVI Committee
      • Resilient immunisation systems: looking beyond high vaccination rates
        Sibilia Quilici, Public Policy Director, MSD
      • Raising awareness about the key role of health professionals – The role of physicians in vaccination
        Prof. Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery, President of the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)
      • Vaccination in Pharmacies
        Michał Byliniak, President of PGEU (The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union)
      • Independent control contributes to ensuring vaccine quality
        Susanne Keitel, Director of the EDQM, Council of Europe
      • Healthcare distribution: facilitating optimal access and uptake of vaccines in Europe
        Monika Derecque-Pois, Director General of GIRP
      • AIM calls for European Action with regard to Vaccination Hesitancy
        Christian Zahn, President of AIM (International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies)
      • Vaccines – The educational and preventive role
        Sara Cerdas, MEP (S&D Group), Member of the ENVI Committee
      • The EU research programmes in support to vaccine Research & Innovation
        Irene Norstedt, Acting Director, People Directorate, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
        Alessandra Martini, Policy officer, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
        Julia Molto Lopez, Programme assistant EU policies, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
        Barbara Kerstiëns, Head of Unit Combatting diseases, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
      • Vaccination in Europe – the crucial role of the health care provider
        Pierre Van Damme, MD, PhD, vice-dean faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, director Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
      • Maternal vaccination: A new and highly effective policy to improve European pertussis immunisation programmes
        Benoit Soubeyrand Md, Blossom Vaccinology, Lyon, France