Features

Caregiving has traditionally been a female area, both domestically and in the workplace. Due to the nature of influenza, healthcare workers and those in close contact with young children are at a greater risk of exposure to influenza viruses, both seasonal outbreaks and pandemic strains (Zhang et al 2011). Studies have generally shown compliance rates from as low as 10% to 40-50% among healthcare workers, with no clear pattern to ascertain why this is (Tell Me 2012).

There are a number of groups that are especially vulnerable in terms of susceptibility to influenza and barriers to accessing vaccinations. This may lead to larger problems in case of a pandemic; for example, in the H1N1 2009 outbreak in Australia, indigenous Australians, a hard to reach group, were overrepresented in rates of hospitalisation (Seale et al 2010). Hard to reach groups may have adverse health outcomes, and the complex interplay of gender and social and economic marginalisation makes this a particular issue for women (Davidson et al 2011).

In order to improve the effectiveness of the Best Practice Platform, a few interviews to the coordinators of some of the initiatives have been uploaded on the database. These interviews add further information about the European Immunization Week (EIW)Immuniser Lyon, the French Citizen Consultation on Vaccination, and the Health mediation program in Bulgaria. 

Women who are pregnant are more likely to have severe disease and hospitalisation with either seasonal or pandemic influenza, compared to the general population or compared to non-pregnant women of the same age group. During pandemics, the mortality rate for pregnant women is higher than non-pregnant women. However, this is not the case with seasonal influenza unless the strain is particularly severe (WHO 2010).

The report of the WHO SAGE Vaccine Hesitancy Working Group defined vaccine hesitancy as “a behaviour, influenced by a number of factors including issues of confidence (e.g. low level of trust in vaccine or provider), complacency (e.g. negative perceptions of the need for, or value of, vaccines], and convenience (e.g. lack of easy access)”.

ASSET is close to its conclusion and a concluding conference will be held in Rome, on October 30-31, to present all the main outcomes of the project. This event will take place at the hotel NH Roma Leonardo Da Vinci and will be targeted to a selected audience of EU stakeholders and policy makers. Its aim is to enhance advocacy and intersectoral approach in a multisetting scenario applied to fostering preparedness and response toward Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), like epidemics and even pandemics.

“Public health surveillance is the bedrock of outbreak and epidemic response”. With these words, Marie-Paule Kieny – WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation – introduces the WHO guidelines on ethical issues in public health surveillance, a document targeted to a wide range of stakeholders involved in the constant monitoring of health threats.

Persons over the age of 65 have a higher risk for severe influenza-related complications and have the highest risk of mortality from influenza. Vaccination of older persons have traditionally been the main focus of influenza vaccine policy, and while vaccines are not as efficient in this population as in younger adults, it still remains the most effective public health tool to protect against influenza (WHO 2012). Vaccination recommendations vary slightly between countries in Europe, however almost all cover older people as a specific target group (Endrich et al 2009).

The debate on how to address the spread of incorrect information about vaccines and science in general, as never before, is affecting the main stakeholders in health and scientific communication.
Current vaccination campaigns aimed to address vaccine hesitancy do not work or do not work enough.

ASSET is close to its conclusion and a concluding conference will be held in Rome, on October 30-31, to present all the main outcomes of the project. This event will take place at the hotel NH Roma Leonardo Da Vinci and will be targeted to a selected audience of EU stakeholders and policy makers. It is conceived as a mobilization and mutual learning event at local, national and international levels on Science in Society related issues in epidemics and pandemics.

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MMLAP and other EU Projects

Health system analysis to support capacity development in response to the threat of pandemic influenza in Asia
Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change
Public Participation in Developing a Common Framework for Assessment and Management of Sustainable Innovation
Engaging all of Europe in shaping a desirable and sustainable future
Expect the unexpected and know how to respond
Driving innovation in crisis management for European resilience
Effective communication in outbreak management: development of an evidence-based tool for Europe
Solutions to improve CBRNe resilience
Network for Communicable Disease Control in Southern Europe and Mediterranean Countries
Developing the framework for an epidemic forecast infrastructure
Strengthening of the national surveillance system for communicable diseases
Surveillance of vaccine preventable hepatitis
European monitoring of excess mortality for public health action
European network for highly infectious disease
Dedicated surveillance network for surveillance and control of vaccine preventable diseases in the EU
Modelling the spread of pandemic influenza and strategies for its containment and mitigation
Cost-effectiveness assessment of european influenza human pandemic alert and response strategies
Bridging the gap between science, stakeholders and policy makers
Promotion of immunization for health professionals in Europe
Towards inclusive research programming for sustainable food innovations
Addressing chronic diseases and healthy ageing across the life cycle
Medical ecosystem – personalized event-based surveillance
Studying the many and varied economic, social, legal and ethical aspects of the recent developments on the Internet, and their consequences for the individual and society at large
Get involved in the responsible marine research and innovation
Knowledge-based policy-making on issues involving science, technology and innovation, mainly based upon the practices in Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Assessment of the current pandemic preparedness and response tools, systems and practice at national, EU and global level in priority areas
Analysis of innovative public engagement tools and instruments for dynamic governance in the field of Science in Society
Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society
Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data
Providing infrastructure, co-ordination and integration of existing clinical research networks on epidemics and pandemics
Promote vaccinations among migrant population in Europe
Creating mechanisms for effectively tackling the scientific and technology related challenges faced by society
Improve the quality of indoor air, keeping it free from radon
Improving respect of ethics principles and laws in research and innovation, in line with the evolution of technologies and societal concerns
Investigating how cities in the West securitise against global pandemics
Creating a structured dialogue and mutual learning with citizens and urban actors by setting up National Networks in 10 countries across Europe
Identifying how children can be change agents in the Science and Society relationship
Establishing an open dialogue between stakeholders concerning synthetic biology’s potential benefits and risks
Transparent communication in Epidemics: Learning Lessons from experience, delivering effective Messages, providing Evidence