Volume 31, Issue 42, Pages 4689-4932 (1 October 2013)
EuSANH workshop “Reasons behind the differences in national vaccination schedules for under-five”, European Public Health pre-conference workshop, Malta, 8 November 2012
H. Theeten, H. Nohynek, T.M.M. Coenen, European Science Advisory Network for Health (EuSANH)
Vaccination schedules for under-five children in the EU member states differ markedly, mainly as a consequence of differences in programme organization, decision making and history, and to a limited extent by epidemiological differences. There is little willingness towards unification since little evidence exists to prefer one schedule over the others, but the differences might impact on public confidence. Monitoring key determinants influencing individual decision making on immunization (‘soft impacts’) is thus as important as other existing monitoring systems of the ‘hard’ impacts of immunization programmes, and both should focus on the impact of these schedule differences. Harmonization of vaccination schedules is not the main issue, but the reasons behind the differences should be explained in an understandable and coherent way to the public. Scientists and advisory bodies should look over the country borders and communicate any crucial information, in order to improve scientific consensus on immunization schedules and programmes. These were the main conclusions of a members’ experts panel of the European network of independent science advisory bodies on health (EuSANH), at a workshop in November 2012.