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Divergent approaches in the vaccination of recently arrived migrants to Europe: a survey of national experts from 32 countries, 2017

On Behalf Of The Esgitm Working Group On Vaccination In Migrant, Hargreaves, S., Nellums, L. B., Ravensbergen, S. J., Friedland, J. S. & Stienstra, Y., 11-Oct-2018, In : Eurosurveillance. 23, 41, p. 21-29 9 p.

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BackgroundMigrants within the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) may be underimmunised and lack documentation on previous vaccinations. We investigated approaches to vaccination in recently arrived adult and child migrants, and guideline availability and implementation. Methods: Between March and May 2017, a national vaccination expert from every EU/EEA country and Switzerland completed an electronic questionnaire. We used descriptive analyses to calculate percentages, and framework analysis to synthesise free-text responses. Results: We approached 32 countries (response rate 100%). Although 28 experts reported vaccination guidance at national level, specific guidelines for recently arrived migrants were only available in six countries and not consistently implemented. Twenty-three countries administered vaccinations during on-arrival health checks. Most experts recommended multiple vaccination opportunities be made available: at point of entry (n = 13) or at holding level (reception centres, migrant camps, detention centres) (n = 21). In 30 countries, child migrants without evidence of previous vaccination were re-vaccinated according to the national schedule. Diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus and polio vaccinations were given to migrant children in all countries, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) in 31 countries, hepatitis B vaccination in 25. Low levels of catch-up vaccination were reported in adult migrants, with only 13 countries offering MMR and 10 countries charging fees. Conclusion: Existing guidance is often not migrant-specific and may not be applied in practice; clarification is needed on which vaccines should be given. Strategies are needed specifically for catch-up vaccination in adult migrants. Vaccinations should be offered in multiple settings, free of charge, with sufficient guidance and training provided to front-line healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalEurosurveillance
Volume23
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 11-Oct-2018

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