For the last two decades, the Southeast European (SEE) Member States have been working together on pandemic preparedness, influenza surveillance, and immunization. These efforts are led by SECID SEEHN RHDC on communicable diseases surveillance and control.
This Regional Influenza Vaccination Meeting was the third in a row. It was held in Belgrade, on 23-24 October 25, 2023. Its aim was to discuss programs implementation, identify the COVID-19 pandemic impact on influenza vaccination, challenges, possible solutions, recommendations.
Previous meetings back in 2017, and 2019, were focused on operational issues related to the implementation of seasonal influenza vaccination programs, to improve the current strategies, and to overcome challenges by looking into opportunities to ensure affordable prices by improving the process for procuring vaccines and cross-border cooperation.
The Meeting gathered participants from the SEEHN Member States and beyond, joined by representatives of the Task Force for Global Health, US CDC, WHO Europe, Balkan hub, the WHO office in Belgrade and RCC.
The main outcomes of the two days’ discussions are expected to:
▪ identify strategies to foster short-term influenza and COVID-19 vaccine program improvement and increase uptake especially among key target risk groups.
▪ Identify strategies for integration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccination and other immunization or program platforms following a whole life-course approach.
▪ Exchange country experiences and identify country and cross border actions to address possible gaps and challenges related to improve the access to influenza and COVID-19 or other epidemic or pandemic vaccines timely and with affordable prices and also to explore the possibilities for joint vaccine procurement in the SEE Region.
Finally, the Regional Influenza Vaccination Meeting proved the importance of joint work, harnessing regional particularities to strive for higher standards that will affect the livelihoods in the South Eastern Europe.