Blogged on behalf of Natalia Forero Serna.
EU perspective on strengthening influenza prevention
Isabel De la Mata, Principal Adviser with special interest on Public Health, European Commission presented the EU perspective on strengthening influenza prevention today at the World Vaccine Congress Lyon.
She begins by stating her main objective: to improve vaccination coverage among healthcare workers who are the taking care of the population and who might have the role to pass the message to the population. Her overviews were divided in 3 aspects:
Â· Council recommendation
Â· Joint procedure of pandemic influenza vaccines
Â· Social and behavioural access
The council recommendation is: something has to be done about the perception of influenza vaccination, but she said, in an informal way: "we are not doing well". Furthermore she also gave a general recommendation: "encouragement has to be enough to achieve their target"
So if there is a pandemic case of Influenza, the main questions would be: how to implement a vaccine for a certain number of habitants? Well, a diverse capacity of negotiations has to be done before: to buy a vaccine or not? For how many people? What are the company’s conditions? How would it be managed in relation to a joint agreement among the countries of the European Union?
This sounds easy in words, but is actually difficult in practice. First of all there are not only too many habitants, but there are at least 30 different administrations in at least 20 different countries. Second, what if the vaccine doesn’t exist yet? And third, does the industry have the capacity to produce it? To solve some of these issues, Isabel proposed establishing a steering committee of the joint procedure where all participants will be represented, and also call for tenders if the there is a pandemic call.
‘Untrust’, one of the most common behaviours in society about vaccination. For instance, to test what population thought of H1N1 vaccination, they built a ‘eurobarometer’ a telephone-based survey, where they found that 69 % of the population is not concerned and they would only get it is a priority. But you should ask your self, who is informing this priority? In most of the cases, the TV, so maybe a 0 calorie drink could be a priority and can have a success in about one week. The problem is risk perception, information, trust (health professionals), and fear (safety of vaccine).
If you want to know what is the European Commission doing to promote vaccination or what are their projects to clarify the science in society related research questions check the Commission web page of vaccination, http://www.hproimmune.eu/ and http://www.thetellmeproject.com/
The take home message of Isabel: to work for the people Â« with Â» the people, to realize the society’s behaviour.