This workshop welcomed national influenza surveillance personnel, national immunization programme managers and chairs and secretaries of national immunization technical advisory groups from: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Few Member States of the European Region reach the WHO targets for seasonal influenza vaccine uptake in risk groups, and it is hoped that this workshop will ultimately lead to increased uptake by better defining the burden of disease and deepening understanding of the decision-making process.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
strengthen influenza surveillance by training national surveillance personnel in the use of the WHO “Manual for estimating disease burden associated with seasonal influenza in a population”;
present and discuss the process of evidence/based decision-making regarding national influenza seasonal vaccination policy, including economic cost appraisal of influenza;
discuss the criteria for making evidence-based recommendations on influenza vaccination policy and identify sources of evidence;
discuss the feasibility of immunization programmes to accommodate influenza vaccine and issues of affordability and financial sustainability; and
share best practices in making evidence-based decisions and implementation of seasonal influenza vaccination between countries.
It is hoped the workshop will enable national surveillance personnel to better estimate national disease burden associated with seasonal influenza and improve knowledge of recent developments in influenza vaccination. The workshop will increase participants’ understanding of how evidence/based recommendations are developed and also increase awareness of how evidence can be collected.
Lastly the workshop is an opportunity to reach a common understanding and commitment in development of evidence-based recommendations on seasonal influenza vaccination policy and to learn other countries’ experiences.