“Towards harmonisation of immunisation schedules and development of a vaccination travel document in Europe”

(Working Group)

Across Europe there is considerable harmonisation (approximation) regarding pharmaceutical and other regulations, standards, laws, trade, money and finance, academic standards and education. However, there is no such harmonisation relating to immunisation and immunisation schedules, apart from the European Medicines Agency licensing of vaccines themselves.
In fact, the diversity of European vaccination schedules was noted as early as 1995 in an article by Guérin and Roure entitled “Immunisation schedules in the countries of the European Union”. However, few actions were taken to address such an important topic and vaccine continues to be controversial, as well as vaccination policies and practices vary across time and countries.

A “working group” open to the 50 EPA-UNEPSA member Societies was promoted by the EPA-UNEPSA member societies FIMP(Italy) and Israel Pediatric Society, in order to address these important matters. The working group will first analyze why the existing schedules came into being and how difficult it might (or might not) be to change them. Such analysis will be complemented by a short review of current and changing epidemiology, with an emphasis on the re-emergence of vaccine-preventable infections. In fact, an important issue is also the prioritisation of vaccines: which vaccines are considered essential and which are indicated as nice-to-have. Coupled to this there will be of course the evaluation of the impact of pharmacoeconomics and cost-effectiveness, as well as the immense monetary and human cost arising from reductions in vaccination.

The first aim of the working group will be the proposal of a vaccination travel document (a “passport”) that will help to provide a better monitoring and care for the travelers children in Europe and beyond. Later moving toward the more ambitious mission that is harmonization of immunization schedule in Europe.

The 50 national European Paediatric Societies members of EPA-UNEPSA are kindly invited to join the working group. If you are interested to join the WG, please contact Prof.David Mcintosh at the Imperial College of London, UK (e.mcintosh@imperial.ac.uk), and prof. Eli Somekh, President of the Israeli Association of Pediatrics at the Wolfson Medical Center of Holon, Israel (esomeh@post.tau.ac.il).