Catharina de Kat

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  1. Presentation of Dr Mark Muscat at national conference on immunization in Poland, 25 April 2017. Copyright: NIZP-PZH
  2. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control is looking to hire an expert in public Health training and capacity building. Deadline: 10 April 2017 See: Vacancies/vacancy-expert-public-health-training-and-capacity-building-2017.pdf
  3. The next run of the Institute Pasteur MOOC starts today (5 Dec. 2016) but registration is open until 21 January 2017:
  4. The European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) concluded last month that 37 countries out of 53 in the European Region have demonstrated interruption of endemic transmission of measles. 35 of these countries have also demonstrated interruption of rubella. More good news is the lower total numbers of cases so far in 2016 compared to previous years. Jan-Sept 2016: Jan-Dec 2015:,-jan.dec.-2015 Unfortunately, these tables also demonstrate that endemic circulation, or transmission after importation, will continue to be a threat wherever there are pockets of under-immunization.
  5. The 11 November 2016 issue of the WHO Weekly epidemiological record describes progress towards measles elimination in all regions of the word during 2000–2015. Annual reported measles incidence has declined by 75%, and annual estimated measles deaths by 79%, but more is needed to reach regional elimination in all but the Americas region. WER: WHO news release: CDC:
  6. The vaccine-preventable diseases & Iimmunization (VPI) programme of the Division of Health Emergencies and Communicable Diseases (DEC) is accepting expressions of interest from individuals interested in working on health data management and analysis. The programme works with epidemiological, laboratory, demographic and programmatic data related to vaccine-preventable disease surveillance, management and elimination, and promotion of immunization activities in the Member States of the WHO European Region. Deadline for submissions is 25 November 2016.
  7. WHO headquarters is accepting applications for the position of Executive Officer for the Global Poliomyelitis Eradication Initiative (GPEI) Strategy Committee Secretariat and the Polio Department (POL), both in relation to the Department's role as one of the partners of the GPEI.The deadline for applications is 22 November 2016. For more information:
  8. WHO is accepting applications from experts interested in joining the poliovirus containment working group This new working group of the Global Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (GCC) will review national containment certification activities and make recommendations to the GCC. The aim is to provide the required level of assurance that the controls established in the Global Action Plan III for poliovirus containment (GAPIII) are appropriately identified, implemented and monitored. The call for applications for membership to the GCC-CWG will close on Friday 28 October 2016. For m ore information see:
  9. Reaching and maintaining sufficiently high immunization coverage is not possible without the active support of health professionals. Unfortunately, many involved in vaccination are not sufficiently informed and may have doubts themselves about the safety or efficacy of the vaccines they are administering. To close this information gap, WHO and the European Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID) developed the Wiser Immunisers online course, which is now offered through the ESPID website. The course is set to begin for the third time on 17 October, and registration is open until 10 October. Course participants earn 12 EU CME credits, and their feedback following the first two runs of the course has been very positive. The ESPID online course on vaccination provides internet-based training on: vaccine-preventable diseases including clinical presentation, diagnosis, management, treatment, prognosis and public health implications vaccines and their side effects and contraindications communicating with patients and caregivers about vaccination, including addressing common misconceptions and tackling vaccine hesitancy. More information about the course and how to register is available on the ESPID website: immuniser online course Please pass this information on to individuals or groups who could benefit from learning or refreshing their knowledge about this important topic.
  10. The countries of Europe are working together to tackle the threat of measles and rubella, but Region-wide elimination has been elusive. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in collaboration with WHO/Europe will host a 1-day public event on 20 September focused on what has worked in reducing the prevalence of measles and rubella and what more can be done to eliminate them. This event will draw together experts in disease control, health policy and implementation, epidemiology, behavioural science, and the media to share experiences and discuss the way forward. The event is open to the public (online registration required) and can be followed live online. Programme 10.15 – 10.45 Tea/Coffee 10.45 – 11.15 “Measles & Rubella: A Global and Regional Picture” Speaker: Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele (WHO) 11:15 – 12:30 Country Experiences: Lessons Learnt and Best Practices Chair: Anthony Scott (LSHTM) “Communicating and Motivating to Reach the Goal: Insights of an Immunization Programme Manager” Speaker: Gayane Sahakyan (NIP Manager) “Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Netherlands: Lessons learnt and challenges for the future” Speaker: Susan Hahné (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM) "PAHO's Experience of Eliminating Rubella” Speaker: Susan Reef (US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention) 12:30 - 13:30 Lunch 13.30 - 15.00 Recent Advances in Controlling Measles and Rubella Chair John Edmunds (LSHTM) “Target Immunity Levels for Achieving Measles Elimination” - Speaker: Sebastian Funk (LSHTM) “Convulsions, Autism, Meningitis, Gait Disturbance: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff in Vaccine Safety Assessment" Speaker: Nick Andrews (PHE) “Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy” Speaker: Pauline Paterson (LSHTM) 15:00 – 15:30 Tea/Coffee 15.30 – 17.00 Panel discussion: Challenges with Elimination and How They Can Be Overcome Chair: Robb Butler (WHO) Elizabeth Miller OBE (Public Health England) Günter Pfaff (Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination) Andy Pollard (Oxford, SAGE) Fiona Fox (Science Media Centre, UK) Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele (WHO) Live streaming: 10:30-12:30 Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele & Country Experiences: Lessons Learnt and Best Practices 13:30-15:00 Recent Advances in Controlling Measles and Rubella 15:30-17:00 Panel discussion: Challenges with Elimination and How They Can Be Overcome
  11. Health care workers and all professionals working in the field of immunization have a crucial role to play in allaying vaccine safety fears, tackling vaccine hesitancy and emphasising the benefits and the value of vaccines. Communities need to be supported in seeing the value of vaccines not just for individuals, but for society, and as part of being a responsible citizen. Healthcare workers also have a responsibility to protect patients‘ health by being vaccinated themselves and reducing transmission. For decades, Dr Louis Cooper has demonstrated the huge impact that health care workers can have on promoting vaccine uptake and ensuring equitable delivery. In his post on the Immunize Europe Forum today (, the former President of the American Academy of Paediatrics, talks about communication with parents and children. Dr. Cooper was initially a clinician-researcher in infectious diseases in New York City in the early 1970s. After seeing the large burden of vaccine-preventable diseases and their serious consequences, he has dedicated much of his life to changing U.S. public health policy about vaccinations including helping to create a federal entitlement to the recommended vaccinations such as measles and rubella.
  12. See also WHO/Europe's new video that explains why we must: Know Hepatitis. Act Now: Also available in Russian:
  13. Germany is one of the countries in the European Region where measles and rubella continue to spread, according to the recent assessment of the European Regional Verification Commission for measles and rubella elimination (RVC). Last year Germany adopted a national plan of action for elimination of these diseases that identifies the remaining gaps and barriers and sets detailed targets to overcome them. The Ministry of Health has now added an English summary of the plan (p.8-9) to the full document: The “National Action Plan for the Elimination of Measles and Rubella in Germany 2015––2020” was initiated in 2014 by a working group consisting of representatives from federal health authorities, the federal states, and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. professional societies and health insurance companies). The Action Plan was discussed at a national conference on the elimination of measles and rubella with relevant stakeholders in December 2014 and endorsed in June 2015 by the health ministers of the federal states in Germany. BMG_Masern_Roeteln_2016_03_abstract english.pdf
  14. 19 Member States in the WHO European Region were among the 155 countries and territories across the world that stopped using trivalent OPV: