From birth to booster and beyond: optimizing paediatric immunisation services

11 February 2024

We are at a pivotal moment in paediatric immunisation which is why the EHMA is pleased to announce our institutional support of the ‘From Birth to Booster and Beyond: Optimizing paediatric immunisation services’ position paper. The COVID-19 pandemic fuelled the largest sustained backslide in childhood immunization in 30 years, with a total of 67 million children missing out on vaccinations between 2019 and 2021.i As a result of recent trends in declining paediatric vaccination rates across Europe, significant effort is needed to lift vaccination levels among children to at least pre-pandemic levels.ii In this context, the position paper sets out a robust approach to optimizing paediatric immunization uptake across the region, and at this crucial moment, we both support and encourage the implementation of the paper’s approach.

The position paper provides an actionable framework that policymakers can refer to when considering how to tangibly improve paediatric immunization services. Countries are already looking to optimize their vaccination systems to ensure regional public health security, following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. The approach outlined in the paper adds value to existing efforts by looking holistically at how the different factors involved in vaccination systems can be modified, with the aim of helping to strengthen vaccination programs and in turn, improving vaccination coverage rates to build further resilience into public health systems.

The position paper drew on insights shared by the Strengthening the Childhood Immunization Pathway (SCIP) Advisory Group. The SCIP Advisory Group consists of experts from across Europe, with a range of backgrounds including paediatric clinical care, behavioural psychology, and research in the fields of immunology and vaccine confidence.

We believe that in order to improve paediatric vaccination coverage and meet the 95% coverage targets set by the World Health Organisation, governments must undertake a holistic assessment of their vaccination pathways, implement a robust strategy to address poor vaccine confidence, expand vaccination budgets and drive high coverage rates beyond the minimal thresholds that achieve herd immunity. It is important, now more than ever, that routine vaccination across the life course is prioritized, beginning with children.

Click here to read the full position paper.

The position paper was developed and funded by Pfizer Inc.

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