how healthcare professionals can help – Croakey Health Media

Introduction by Croakey: The past two years have seen a decline in global routine immunization rates, particularly for human papillomavirus (HPV) and diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) vaccines.

In July, the World Health Organization reported that “the number of completely unvaccinated children has increased by five million since 2019”.

According to Assistant Professor Michael Moore AM, keeping up to date with vaccinations is a way to reduce morbidity and mortality and help minimize the burden on overburdened hospital systems.

It is also important to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the uptake of vaccination and the role of health professionals in vaccination.

Chair of the Global Immunization Policy Task Force for the World Federation of Public Health Associations and a member of the All Ages Immunization Committee, Moore encourages healthcare professionals to Complete a survey investigate their views on vaccination.

Michael Moore writes:

The Immunization for All Ages initiative brings together a diverse group of organizations from around the world, working to address inequities and improve access to immunization to help promote lifelong health, preserve function and to help prevent death and disability.

To achieve this, the IFAA calls to action through a manifesto in support of a life-course approach to immunization to be strengthened through strategic alignment with international health agendas.

Through the Global Immunization Policy Task Force, the World Federation of Public Health Associations is also trying to better understand the changing role of health professionals in immunization.

A survey conducted by the WFPHA tries to understand the impact of COVID-19. All healthcare professionals, from those on the front lines to civil servants who write policy and everyone in between, are encouraged to participate in the investigation.

The survey covers the entire life course and includes the vaccination coverage of children.

The declining commitment of parents to regularly vaccinating their children and the reduction in coverage in some countries are of particular concern.

The WFPHA tries to understand, among other things, the influence of health professionals on vaccination rates. As the WFPHA is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), this information will be made available to WHO (with analysis) as soon as possible.

The World Health Summit

The World Health Summit in Berlin this year provided an excellent opportunity to address the issue of vaccination throughout life. Childhood vaccination is well understood in Australia and uptake has been among the highest internationally.

However, with the backlash to the controls put in place to combat COVID-19 and the potential for anti-vaxxers to get disproportionate media attention, the challenges are mounting in many countries.

With the onset of winter in Europe and the withdrawal of almost all control measures, vaccination against COVID-19 has become even more important. As we have learned in the southern hemisphere, vaccination against respiratory ailments has become more important than ever.

Reducing the incidence of influenza, pneumococcus, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) through well-targeted vaccination programs will help reduce morbidity and mortality and will also help prevent overloading of systems hospitable.

Of particular significance are the ramp-up of ambulances, pressure on emergency departments in hospitals, and the postponement or cancellation of elective surgeries.

Vaccination targets

Presenting members of the IFAA group at a side event at the World Health Summit provided an opportunity to reach out to national governments, NGOs and other influencers to encourage vaccination at all ages.

To do this, IFAA advocacy approaches are rooted in a manifest which is based on three fundamentals:

  • Prioritize lifelong immunization as an essential pillar of expanded prevention strategies and a central element of universal health coverage.
  • Remove barriers to access to appropriate vaccination across the lifespan to ensure that all people are protected and no one is left behind.
  • Reduce inequities in timely, appropriate, and affordable access to immunization across the lifespan.

Despite the WHO Immunization program 2030 targets, millions of adults are not immunized with one or more of the vaccines recommended for their age group and status, putting them and others at risk of certain infectious diseases.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have explored different ways to administer vaccination. This has highlighted the need to modify the delivery infrastructure, particularly to support immunization of the elderly.

In a nutshell, widespread vaccination will protect the individual, support health and social protection systems and families.

At the World Health Summit, I argued that it is in the context of strained health systems that the need to build appropriate confidence in the safety, efficacy and quality of government-approved vaccines regulations should be considered a priority for governments.

Across Australia, there has been immense confidence in the COVID-19 vaccination as such high proportions of people have come forward to receive their first shots. This should be seen as an opportunity to build confidence in lifelong vaccination.

The role played by health professionals as a trusted source of information is a key element in building community confidence in vaccines.

The notion of vaccine fatigue was examined emphasizing the importance of effective communication about vaccines and building trust to counter this sentiment. The need for appropriate campaigns and to reaffirm the effectiveness of vaccination at the individual and population level is essential.

This is one of the reasons why the WFPHA Global Immunization Policy Task Force is continuing the survey attached to this article and why Croakey readers are encouraged to share and participate.

The objective is to help the WFPHA to continue its advocacy work at the national and international level to protect the health of populations.

Take the survey

Participation is easy and accessible via this link or by using this QR code.

About the Author

Adjunct Professor Michael Moore AM PhD is the current Chair of the Global Immunization Policy Task Force for the World Federation of Public Health Associations and is a former president of the WFPHA. He recently attended the World Health Summit in Berlin to present at a side event on the issue of improving immunization beyond pediatric immunization.

Moore is a member of the Committee on Immunization for All Ages (IFAA) and his participation in the World Health Summit was supported through this committee by Pfizer.

See Croakey’s article archive at children’s health.

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