Setting the immunization agenda through advocacy and communication



Chief medical officers, immunization managers, communications officers and representatives from 16 western European countries attended a high-level expert meeting on advocacy and communication for immunization in London on 16–17 January 2008. The meeting was held jointly by the United Kingdom Department of Health and the WHO European Regional Office.

Its objectives were to:

• discuss barriers to achieving immunization goals, including the general public’s understanding and concerns regarding the risks of vaccination and benefits of immunization;
• discuss country and regional experience, achievements and challenges in communications and advocacy for immunization, including responding to antivaccination groups, immunization crises, new challenges, and routine communications planning to build public confidence;
• discuss the perspectives of journalists and the mass media in reporting immunization issues and ways of effectively establishing a more positive relationship with them;
• prepare a joint statement on strategies to improve advocacy and communications for immunization in the WHO European Region.

Concluding the meeting, participants agreed on a common statement endorsing continued actions to develop, improve and extend communication and advocacy activities for immunization.