Current practices in immunisation policymaking in European countries

Surveillance and monitoring

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Current practices in immunisation policymaking in European countries. Stockholm: ECDC; 2015.

This report describes and summarises the national processes for vaccine policymaking currently implemented in EU/EEA countries, the roles of the so-called national technical advisory groups (NITAGs) in the Member States and – if applicable – details of the national frameworks, with the aim to assess NITAG collaboration in Europe.

Executive summary

The decision making process on recommended vaccinations is complex. It needs to not only take into account the purely medical benefits and risks of the evaluated vaccine (‘context-free’ factors such as  vaccine effectiveness and safety), it must also consider local cultural values and preferences on vaccination (‘context-specific’ factors). ECDC publishes a new report that describes and summarises the national processes on vaccine policymaking, the role of the Member States’ national technical advisory groups (NITAGs), and assesses the collaboration of such groups.  NITAGs are independent advisory bodies that provide evidence-based recommendations to policy makers to guide policies and strategies on vaccination. This report, based on a 28 country survey, aims to better understand the decision-making in each NITAG and explore possibilities for collaboration and the sharing of resources. The report finds that there are still several issues to resolve before collaboration among NITAGs starts such as data protection and codes of conduct for unpublished data, among others. It concludes that if NITAGs work together it could lead to less duplication of work, improved data and methodologies in vaccine decision-making across Europe.