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Document 52014XG1206(01)

The role of vaccination in the EU’s healthcare system

The role of vaccination in the EU’s healthcare system

In December 2014, the Council of the European Union (EU) issued a set of conclusions on vaccination as an effective tool in public health.

ACT

Council conclusions on vaccinations as an effective tool in public health (2014/C 438/04) (Official Journal C 438 of 6.12.2014, pp. 3-6)

SUMMARY

WHAT DO THESE CONCLUSIONS DO?

They set out recommendations for EU countries and the European Commission in relation to vaccination and immunisation.

KEY POINTS

The conclusions recommend that EU countries:

  • continue to improve evaluation of communicable disease issues, including making plans for an effective response to diseases preventable by vaccination;
  • continue to improve national vaccination programmes and strengthen the ability to carry out appropriate vaccination, including the introduction of new vaccines;
  • continue to develop coordinated approaches with broader health policies and work with other preventive sectors (e.g. screening for disease);
  • ensure impact studies in order to provide reliable information for governments, regulators and manufacturers;
  • offer appropriate vaccination to at-risk groups and consider possible life-long programmes;
  • further develop basic (initial training) and in-service training (on-the-job training or retraining) for health workers;

In addition, the Commission is called upon to work with EU countries to:

  • assist with the exchange of data on communicable diseases, national vaccination policies and coverage for at-risk groups;
  • convey informed and clear messages on vaccinations;
  • work with health professionals to strengthen their role in advocating vaccination and engage opinion leaders and academia to raise awareness and develop trust;
  • share information on cost-effectiveness, communication plans and campaigns for vaccine introduction, aimed at encouraging vaccine use;
  • develop programmes to share best practices and further encourage research and innovation while giving priority to citizens’ safety.

The Commission should also:

  • align approaches to vaccination with EU legislation and policies;
  • ensure funding for research;
  • identify guidance and facilitate effective research methods and technical and scientific expertise;
  • assist EU countries with appropriate technologies.

BACKGROUND

Under Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU commits to fighting the major threats to health by promoting research into their causes and prevention, as well as information, education, monitoring and early warning.

The treaty also recommends cooperation between EU countries and support for their actions while respecting their responsibilities for defining health policies and the organisation of services.

For more information, see the vaccination page of the European Commission’s website.

last update 11.08.2015

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