Immunisation information systems - useful tools for monitoring vaccination programmes in EU/EEA countries

technical report
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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Immunisation information systems in the EU and EEA - Results of a survey on implementation and system characteristics. Stockholm: ECDC; 2017.

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​This report presents the findings of a survey conducted by ECDC across EU/EEA countries that assessed the level of implementation of IIS and their functionalities, as well as the challenges encountered during the design and implementation. The aim of the survey was to share knowledge about IIS in the EU/EEA in order to build consensus on the characteristics of an optimal system and to describe differences in core functionalities and standards across countries.

Executive summary

Twenty one EU/EEA countries have developed or are in the process of developing systems to digitally record information about vaccination.

Fourteen of these countries already have a system in place, whereas innovative systems are being piloted in 7 countries. Five of the digital systems include automated reminders, which have the potential to automatically generate lists that identify under vaccinated populations, determine which vaccines are due or overdue, and generate reminders for providers and vaccine recipients. For example, automated reminders have been used to generate of lists identifying children who have not been vaccinated with the second dose of Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination (MMR2) before the age of 16.

ECDC Director, Dr Andrea Ammon said:

 “As healthcare systems strive to improve quality, safety and sustainability, digital solutions are proving to have the potential to strengthen disease prevention through immunisation”. Ammon continued, “With this report ECDC is able for the first time to present a clear picture of the status and functionalities of immunisation information systems across EU/EEA countries”.

Many of the digital systems currently in operation or being set up include the possibility to record whole-of-life vaccination data, and some countries can provide vaccine recipients the possibility to print their personal immunisation history. This technology gives means that individuals can stay up to date with their immunisations throughout their lives and removes uncertainties over vaccination status.

“Digital vaccination records may allow an individual to keep up to date with their vaccination status”, explained ECDC Director Andrea Ammon. Ammon continued, “Access to this information could be critical since many adults may neither have had access to currently available vaccines as a child, nor developed immunity through natural infection. This would be of benefit to both the individual and public health and can empower citizens to become better aware of their vaccination status and needs”.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety added: “Immunisation Information systems constitute a good example of eHealth's potential to improve disease prevention, by identifying unvaccinated populations and ensuring the necessary steps can be taken. Such digital systems enable information and data sharing between patients, healthcare providers, and health professionals. With the support of the European Digital Single Market Strategy, Europe helps in creating an environment in which such effective eHealth solutions can thrive.”

The importance of digital immunisation records is recognised by the 2014 EU Council Conclusions on vaccination as an effective tool in public health and further endorsed by the World Health Organisation’s European Vaccines Action Plan (EVAP). ECDC is promoting the results of its survey report in support of the European Immunisation Week 24-30 April 2017, which has the objective to increase awareness of the importance of immunisation throughout life.