First day of the Programme Managers Meeting
The meeting of National Immunization Programme Managers is currently being held in Antwerp from 1st to 3rd September, 2015. Robb Butler, Programme Manager at WHO EURO, opened the meeting with Professor Pierre Van Damme, Chair of the European Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (ETAGE).
This first day focused on the first objective of the European Vaccine Action Plan, which is that "all countries commit to immunization as a priority". To adress that topic, panel members were asked an open question, which they then had to reply to without a proper presentation (powerpoint) so that it would foster discussion. Both the UK, Armenian and German NITAGs shared their experiences on using evidence to sustain political commitment, engage opinion leaders and empower governments to define immunization policy. Then a broader question on collaboration and exchange of information between NITAGs was directed at Alex Adjagba, Chair of the SIVAC Initiative.
Presentations followed on political commitment to achieve measles and rubella elimination goal and the control of Hepatitis B.
The afternon session focused on the second objective of the EVAP being "individual understand the value of immunization services and vaccines and demand vaccination". Cornelia Betsch from the University of Erfurt stressed the importance of the word demand as opposed to accept, underlying that one is active while the other is active. Before the working group session, general presentations were made on vaccine hesitancy among the public and health care workers, communication and risks perception.
The meeting was followed by a reception and the second day will be introduced by her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians.