Catharina de Kat, Communications, Web and Information Officer
Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization

October 24, 2017

EUPATI, European Patients’ Academy on Therapeutic Innovation, is a patient-led initiative that uses training courses, educational material and an online public library for empowering patients to engage more effectively in the development and approval of new treatments and become true partners in pharmaceutical research and development. Filippo Buccella, chairman of the Italian Liaison Team explains to ASSET how this initiative can involve healthy citizens as well, improving preparedness to infectious outbreaks and other crises.

This editorial introduces the new release of ASSET paper series.

Social media, mobile technology and social networks constitute an extremely rich and dynamic information ecosystem. With a world population of more than seven billion people, almost half of them have an internet connection, while the active social media users are about 2.8 billion. Huge numbers, which clearly shows how deep these instruments are rooted into our society. It is not a surprise, then, that social media are also increasingly present in disaster and crisis response efforts. Their growing presence in these scenarios represent an issue, but also an opportunity.

The fact that some vaccine preventable diseases have disappeared or are very rare following these vaccination programs can lead to parents believing there is no more need to vaccinate. Therefore, it is of huge importance that events like the European Immunization, helping maintain vaccination awareness and giving accurate and understandable information on immunization, exist. In this way, public confidence in immunization is less susceptible to be influenced by groups, websites or campaigns against vaccination. By acknowledging that every child deserves a healthy start in life, countries can use the European Immunization Week to increase awareness of the importance of immunization and to strengthen their immunization systems.

Immunization rates in Italy are decreasing at a worrying trend: international targets for measles eradication and safety thresholds in childhood vaccination are vanishing. Authorities, doctors and families are concerned that a coverage below 86% for MPR (measles, parotitis and rubella) vaccine can impair herd immunity, putting younger babies, immunocompromised people and not-responders at risk.

Parents, healthcare workers, bloggers and science communicators have launched a positive experience in Italy, with the aim of sharing and promoting scientific information towards an important public health goal: to face the drop in vaccine coverage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 (All day)

Public engagement that sets citizens and stakeholders as co-designers and collaborators of R&I activities can contribute to more dynamic and responsible governance of research and innovation. Public Engagement for Research, Practice and Policy conference, to be organized on November 16-17 in Brussels, calls for experts, stakeholders, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, researchers, regional authorities and Commission officials to a joint discussion on this theme.

“We are so close to ending the polio” and “Still 15 years to a polio-free world” are not contradictory statements. They instead describe, with different degree of optimism, the current framework and the objective to be pursued in the fight against this disease. In other words, we are closer than ever to the target of a world free of polio, but much remains to be done to carry the world across the threshold. Polio eradication is the next issue public health authorities will be committed to in midterm future.

Hunter NL, O'Callaghan KM, Califf RM. JAMA. 2015 Dec 15;314(23):2499-500.

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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