Vaccination hesitancy – what can nurses do?

Vaccination hesitancy – what can nurses do?

Posted on January 28, 2020

The European Council Recommendation on strengthened cooperation against vaccine-preventable diseases was adopted in December 2018. Since then, the EFN and other stakeholders have been very active in the fight against vaccination hesitancy across Europe. For example, the EFN, in the representation of the general care nurse profession, is co-chairing a Coalition for Vaccination, coordinated by the European Commission. This Coalition is tackling vaccination hesitancy among healthcare professionals, to ensure that they vaccinate themselves and that they recommend vaccination to their patients. 

In this context, the EFN joins the Active Citizenship Network (ACN) in the event that they organise at the European Parliament Premises to celebrate the official launch of the MEPs Interest Group on “European Patients’ Rights & Cross-Border Healthcare” for the 2019-2024 term. This event was attended by other health-interested stakeholders as well, willing to discuss the rise of vaccination hesitancy across Europe and how to tackle it. Speakers touch upon the topic of vaccination hesitancy on all its complexity. For example, a recurring idea is that we need to know the profile of citizens who are vaccine-hesitant – to know why they think the way they do and who they are. It is not the same hesitating for not believing in the effectiveness of vaccination than hesitating because the timings and/or location at which these are being administered are not convenient. Moreover, young people, who are the future of Europe, should be more involved in the political debate regarding vaccination. They are “the parents of tomorrow” and should be aware of the benefits of vaccinating their children. Finally, speakers elaborate on the idea of fostering vaccination uptake via better education – education for citizens at all the stages of their life, as well as better education for healthcare professionals.

The EFN Membership is active in the topic of vaccination, as it is reflected in the published report containing best practices for nurses’ competencies in prevention. This document is a comparative overview of 35 European Countries.