Today, at the European European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG), ECDC organised a workshop on vaccination and social media. The speakers were the Director of ECDC Dr Marc Sprenger, John-F Ryan (European Commission), Dr Marjon Huibers (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and panellists Robb Butler (WHO Regional Office Europe), John McConnell (Lancet Infectious Diseases), Christine Mosler (Cision Top Ten Mum Blogger).
The objectives of the workshop were to explore the untapped potential of social media in raising awareness of the importance of vaccination and discuss a common approach of how to advocate childhood vaccination through the engagement of health care professionals via social media.
The workshop was an opportunity to explore what the main obstacles are, and possible solutions, to improve support to the vaccine preventable diseases’ elimination effort using social media channels and debate about what are the current the discussions on the web about vaccination uptake.
“There are several players that need to be actively involved in communicating the benefits of vaccination. Health professionals have a crucial role to play, but also national health-care institutions and policy makers at the national and the European level. Strong support to vaccination programmes is crucial to prevent common childhood diseases. Together, we need to find new and innovative ways to provide access to evidence-based information about vaccines and vaccine safety using all possible channels and network’. In this context, we see an added value to engage in social media”, said Dr. Marc Sprenger, Director of ECDC.
ECDC Director also engaged in several events with the Young Forum Gastein, an initiative which is a joint project of the EHFG and the European Commission. Young Forum Gastein targets young researchers and officials from EU Member States in the field of health to bridge the gap between research and policy-making and facilitating learning and networking.”
The European Health Forum Gastein was founded in 1998 as a European health policy conference with the aim of providing a platform for discussion for the various stakeholders in the field of public health and health care. Since then the EHFG has developed into a key annual event, bringing together politicians, senior decision-makers, representatives of interest groups, and experts coming from government and administration, business and industry, civil society and science and academia.
This is a third consecutive year that ECDC takes part in the EHFG in a form of a lunch workshop. The topic of the workshop in 2010 was “Communicating risk in a diverse world” and in 2011 “Strengthening and building up new public capacities in a time of increased migration”.