IMMUNION (“Improving IMMunisation cooperation in the European UNION”), is a 2-year project (2021-2023) funded by the European Union Health Programme. Led by EuroHealthNet, the project brings together members of the Coalition for Vaccination (established by the EU in 2019), as well as partners across the EU with the ultimate goal to increase vaccine confidence and uptake. Building on learnings from vaccination efforts at national, regional and global level, IMMUNION will add value to existing EU and national initiatives, particularly the Coalition for Vaccination, by increasing stakeholder collaboration to address issues of access to accurate information about vaccination. This will be primarily achieved through strategies focused on communication and training targeted to health professionals and the public.

Partners include the three Co-Chairs of the Coalition for Vaccination: CPME (the Standing Committee of European Doctors), EFN (the European Federation of Nursing Associations), PGEU (the Pharmacists Group of the European Union), as well as a think tank participating in the Coalition for Vaccination (the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative). Three EuroHealthNet members/observers will participate in the project: the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC), the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) and the Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health (PROLEPSIS, Greece). The consortium also includes one university (the University of Antwerp) and two media and communications firms (EURACTIV Poland and Europa Media (Hungary)).

Activities are spread across six complementary and inter-linking work packages which are joined together by a focus on effective communication – both within the health sector and to wider groups in society. Activities include the development of a dedicated Coalition for Vaccination website with integration to the planned SEKI (Strengthening Knowledge and Education in Immunisation) Platform, a Training-of-Trainers Workshop on vaccine communication for health professionals, developing National Toolboxes of vaccination communication best practices in four countries, improving media liaisons with health professionals, and improving the visibility of the Coalition for Vaccination. Expected outcomes include increased awareness and use of validated training vaccine communication materials, increased ability for health professionals and students to communicate about vaccines, enhanced media reporting on vaccination, and improved overall equity in vaccination for populations with lower vaccine coverage.

IMMUNION officially kicks off on 1 April 2021, with the Kick-off Meeting held virtually on April 13 and 15. The Kick-off Meeting will bring together all project partners, European Commission officials, and members of the project’s Scientific Advisory Board, representing experts in health, vaccines, communication, and health equity.

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