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Measles & Rubella in Europe: A Process of Elimination

Where next for measles and rubella in Europe?

All European countries had a long-standing commitment to eliminate measles and rubella from the region by 2015. Although outbreaks continue to occur, progress has been made, with 34 of 53 countries having interrupted transmission of either or both diseases by 2014. What are the next steps in the fight against measles and rubella in Europe?

At this critical juncture, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in conjunction with WHO European Regional Office will host a 1-day public event to:

  • make key audiences aware of how far we have come and what remains to be done;
  • examine how some countries have overcome barriers to elimination so that others may learn from these strategies;
  • review recent advances in our understanding of measles elimination, attitudes towards vaccination and accurate measurement of vaccine safety.

Experts in disease control, health policy, epidemiology, behavioural science and the media will share their experiences and discuss the way forward during a full day of presentations and panel discussions. Based on these discussions, key messages to policy-makers will be developed to encourage prioritization of immunization in countries currently lagging behind.

Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, WHO – ‘Measles & Rubella: A Global and Regional Picture’

Session 1: ‘Country Experiences: Lessons Learnt and Best Practices’

Chair: Anthony Scott

Gayane Sahakyan, NIP Manager – ‘Communicating and Motivating to Reach the Goal: Insights of an Immunization Programme Manager’

Susan Hahne, RIVM – ‘Measles and Rubella Elimination in the Netherlands: Lessons learnt and challenges for the future’

Susan Reef, CDC – ‘PAHO’s Experience of Eliminating Rubella’

Session 2: ‘Recent Advances in Controlling Measles and Rubella’

Chair: John Edmunds

Sebastian Funk – ‘Target Immunity Levels for Achieving Measles Elimination’

Nick Andrews, PHE – ‘Convulsions, Autism, Meningitis, Gait Disturbance: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff in Vaccine Safety Assessment’

Pauline Paterson – ‘Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy’

Panel discussion: ‘Challenges with Elimination and How They Can Be Overcome’

Chair: Robb Butler, WHO

Gunter Pfaff, Regional Verification Committee
Andy Pollard, Oxford, SAGE
Fiona Fox, Science Media Centre
Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, WHO