National immunization strategies targeting migrants in six European countries.

Thursday, 22nd of March 2018 Print

Vaccine. 2018 Feb 6. pii: S0264-410X(18)30120-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.01.060. [Epub ahead of print]

National immunization strategies targeting migrants in six European countries.

Giambi C1 Del Manso M2 Dalla Zuanna T3 Riccardo F4 Bella A5 Caporali MG6 Baka A7 Caks-Jager N8 Melillo T9 Mexia R10 Petrović G11 Declich S12; CARE working group for the National Immunization Survey.


Over the last three years an unprecedented flow of migrants arrived in Europe. There is evidence that vaccine preventable diseases have caused outbreaks in migrant holding centres. These outbreaks can be favored by a combination of factors including low immunization coverage bad conditions that migrants face during their exhausting journey and overcrowding within holding facilities. In 2017 we conducted an online survey in Croatia Greece Italy Malta Portugal and Slovenia to explore the national immunization strategies targeting irregular migrants refugees and asylum seekers. All countries stated that a national regulation supporting vaccination offer to migrants is available. Croatia Italy Portugal and Slovenia offer to migrant children and adolescents all vaccinations included in the National Immunization Plan; Greece and Malta offer only certain vaccinations including those against diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis poliomyelitis and measles-mumps-rubella. Croatia Italy Malta and Portugal also extend the vaccination offer to adults. All countries deliver vaccinations in holding centres and/or community health services no one delivers vaccinations at entry site. Operating procedures that guarantee the migrants access to vaccination at the community level are available only in Portugal. Data on administered vaccines is available at the national level in four countries: individual data in Malta and Croatia aggregated data in Greece and Portugal. Data on vaccination uptake among migrants is available at national level only in Malta. Concluding although diversified strategies for migrant vaccination are in place in all the surveyed countries and generally in line with WHO and ECDC indications. Development of procedures to keep track of migrants immunization data across countries development of strategies to facilitate and monitor migrants access to vaccinations at the community level and collection of data on vaccination uptake among migrants should be promoted to meet existing gaps.

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