Today the Council of the European Union adopted a Recommendation on strengthened cooperation against vaccine preventable diseases. The Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union (PGEU) welcomes the Council Recommendation as a basis to improving vaccine coverage and tackling vaccine hesitancy in the EU.
PGEU supports the call to facilitate access to vaccination services by simplifying and broadening the opportunities to offer vaccination, leveraging community-based providers. This message echoes the recommendation to improve availability of vaccines from providers such as community pharmacists, made by the Expert Panel on effective ways of investing in Health in their Opinion on Vaccination programmes and health systems in the European Union.
PGEU Secretary General Ilaria Passarani said :
“Pharmacists are one of the most accessible community-based health care providers and should be fully integrated in national vaccination strategies. Community pharmacists identify and remind target groups for vaccinations, provide information and advice, and take an active role in several national and regional awareness campaigns. They are also successfully used as access points to vaccination delivery in an increasing number of EU countries.”
“At present citizens can have their vaccination administered in a community pharmacy in 11 EU countries, and in 6 of them the vaccine can be administered by pharmacists themselves. In most of these countries, citizens can get not only flu but also other vaccines such as pneumococcal, shingles, human papilloma virus (HPV) and travel vaccinations. Where pharmacists provide such services, they must always follow certified training programmes”.
“Pharmacists can improve access and convenience to vaccination information and delivery to citizens. To increase vaccine coverage and help tackling vaccine hesitancy it is crucial to make better use of pharmacist-delivered vaccination services as an integral part of national vaccination programmes”.