More than 200 participants from ten countries attended the Symposium: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Profile of participants: academia, NITAG members, EPI managers and other MoH staff, members of Paediatric, Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Community Health Associations, medical students.
The purpose of the Symposium was to:
(a) Update participants on the Decade of Vaccines (DoV) and its related Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP);
(b) Discuss recent advances in new vaccines and their use;
(c) Exchange lessons learned and best practices regarding new vaccines introduction among participating countries;
(d) Discuss cold chain and logistics for preparation of new vaccines introduction;
(e) Discuss integrated management of immunisation; (f) Discuss training in immunisation at medical and nursing schools;
(g) strengthen immunisation programmes through partnerships between various stakeholders.
The Symposium was organised by the Network for Education and Support in Immunisation (NESI)/University of Antwerp, Belgium, and the University of Padjadjaran, Indonesia, in collaboration with the Indonesian Paediatric Society. Financial support was received from the Flemish Inter-University Council, Belgium.
The first day of the Symposium focused on new policies and issues related to new vaccine introduction. The Indonesian Ministry of Health shared their lessons learned and best practices regarding new vaccine introduction in the country. The rationale and current vaccination schedules were discussed, as well as specific vaccines including pneumococcal, rotavirus, HPV, influenza and dengue vaccines.
The second day was organised in parallel sessions, whereby the first session focused on scientific aspects of vaccinology and the status of immunisation training in health training institutions; while session 2 addressed the programmatic issues of national immunisation programmes, including surveillance, immunisation safety, cold chain management, and communication.
Speakers included national and international vaccinology experts from universities, Ministries of Health, Paediatric Societies, WHO, UNICEF, IVI, industry, and NESI.
The Symposium was well appreciated by the participants and created lively discussions among experts of the different countries present. A request was made to organise an annual symposium, alternating in one of the participating countries.