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Horizon 2020: Addressing low vaccine uptake

7 April 2020 All day

Specific Challenge:

Vaccines are one of the most important medical breakthroughs in the last 100 years. Every year vaccines save millions of people around the world from illness, disability and death, and they continue to be one of the most cost-effective ways to increase the health and wellbeing of their citizens. Despite this, vaccination uptake faces significant challenges across Europe, and these have increased in particular over the past 20 years. Recent studies have shown Europe to be the world region with the most negative views towards the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, and the importance of childhood vaccination[1].

Recent figures on collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that in 2016 only one vaccine had a coverage rate of over 95% in Europe.[2] Seasonal influenza vaccination also remains significantly below the 75% coverage target for older age groups.[3]

Thus, coverage for many vaccines is below the recommended limit. Due to the low vaccine coverage rates, several EU Member States have faced considerable outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in recent years. For example, more than 14,000 cases of measles were reported across the EU in 2017[4], which is more than three times the number of cases reported in 2016. During the same period 50 people in the EU died due to measles[5].

These figures highlight the urgent need to get to grips with vaccine uptake issues, whether uptake of existing or new vaccines. Research has an essential role to play in understanding the underlying causes of poor vaccine uptake, including vaccine hesitancy, and to develop strategies and guidelines to help Member States and Associated countries increase vaccination coverage. A detailed understanding of the obstacles to, and drivers of, vaccination uptake in various settings is necessary to provide appropriate recommendations.

For more information please visit the EC webpage:

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