To herald European Immunisation Week we present our first snapshots from Europe’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and its implications for vaccinations at all ages and stages of life….
The COVID-19 pandemic, declared by the WHO in March 2020, has had a profound impact on public health, economics and society. The pandemic sparked an unprecedented global effort to develop and deploy new vaccines. The success, development and approval of several COVID-19 vaccines have been hailed as a triumph of science.
The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines in Europe has required mass immunisation campaigns on a scale never seen before. While supply constraints have led governments to prioritise those at the highest risk, vaccines will be offered to adults of all ages. Studies are also underway to test the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in children and adolescents. For many people, COVID-19 vaccines are the first vaccines they have been offered in decades. Thousands of health workers have been mobilised to join the immunisation delivery effort. The experience of communicating about vaccines to people of all ages holds lessons for the future, while the development of infrastructure for vaccine delivery presents opportunities for increasing uptake of other vaccines.
To provide a snapshot of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines across Europe in the spring of 2021, the Coalition for Life-Course Immunisation asked its network of members and supporters three key questions:
- Has COVID-19 raised the profile of vaccination across all ages and stages of life (lifecourse vaccination) in your country?
- How have (a) your government, and (b) your fellow citizens responded to the COVID-19 vaccination?
- What needs to happen post-COVID in your country to encourage life-course immunisation and all the vaccination programs that make a resilient healthcare provision?
The results presented here offer subjective insights from immunisation experts on the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines. The report also looks beyond the pandemic to explore the legacy of COVID and its potential to shape the future of life-course immunisation.