Addressing vaccine hesitancy in challenging times: ECDC workshop at European Health Forum Gastein 2017


Within the overall theme of European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) 2017, “Health in all Politics – a better future for Europe”, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is hosting a workshop highlighting the complex nature of vaccine hesitancy, as well as the necessity for an inter-sectorial approach and political leadership.

Gastein. © framez / EHFG

On Thursday 5 October, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is organizing a workshop on Vaccine Hesitancy at the European Health Forum Gastein which will be moderated by ECDC Director, Dr Andrea Ammon.

Speakers include Mr Martin Seychell (Deputy Director General for Health, DG SANTE, European Commission), Dr Bolette Søborg (National Manager of the Childhood Vaccination Programme, Danish Health Authority, Denmark), Mr Jean-Baptiste Rouffet (Policy Advisor on European Affairs, Ministry of Health, France), Dr Jonas Sivelä (Senior Researcher, Infectious Disease Control and Vaccinations, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland) and Dr Lucia Pastore Celentano (Head of Programme, Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, ECDC). Statements will also be given by key stakeholders.

Within the overall theme of this year’s health forum in Gastein, “Health in all Politics – a better future for Europe”, ECDC’s workshop aims to highlight the complex nature of vaccine hesitancy which calls for an inter-sectorial approach and requires good political leadership. The session is expected to feature and prompt reflection on why parents and healthcare professionals are increasingly hesitant to vaccination, and whether there might be a link to the 'post-factual' era we are experiencing? The workshop will focus on what solutions vaccination programmes can implement to address this public health challenge?

Key session objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Build understanding on the complex and multi-faceted nature of 'vaccine hesitancy', and shed light on the 'knowns' and 'known unknowns'
  • Share country-based experience and identify possible solutions
  • Discuss the role of healthcare professionals
  • Prompt reflection on relevant priority action at both EU and national level

ECDC’s Director, Dr Andrea Ammon said:

Public trust in immunisation is one of the major factors currently impacting on vaccination uptake in Europe. This is a global health issue, affecting the achievement of public health goals. In the context of this new ‘post-factual’ era, we strongly need new targeted intervention strategies to support immunisation programmes.

The workshop will take place on Thursday, 5 October 2017, from 12:00 – 13:30 in Bad Hofgastein. Key highlights from the workshop will be available in real time from the ECDC vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) team Twitter account @ECDC_VPD, as well as from @ECDC_EU.