The adult vaccination coverage in Europe and the barriers experienced during the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination strategies in almost all European countries underline the need for a thorough reflection on adult immunization programs in Europe. Therefore, the team of Prof. Paolo Bonanni – Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Florence (Italy), and Prof. Pierre Van Damme, Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute, University of Antwerp (Belgium) joined forces to create an Adult Immunization Board (AIB) based on years of experience with the multidisciplinary advisory boards: the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Board (VHPB, created in 1992) and the HPV Prevention And Control board (HPV Board, created in 2015).
The Purpose of the Adult Immunization Board (AIB)
The purpose of the AIB is to contribute to the reduction of vaccine-preventable infections and diseases in European adults by providing evidence-based guidance on key technical and strategic issues, and by monitoring the progress of adult immunization programs at European, country, and regional levels. In line with the VHPB and HPV board, the AIB organizes two live meetings per year. One annual technical meeting to discuss specific technical aspects on adult immunization, and a second yearly country meeting to discuss country / region-specific issues on adult immunization together with local experts.
A multi-disciplinary board of experts
The AIB is an independent, international, multidisciplinary group of ± 20 experts that provides scientific evidence-based reflection and guidance on strategic, technical, and policy issues that will occur as we move forward in the implementation and optimization of European, national and sub-national adult immunization programs. The advisors are internationally recognized experts in the field of Adult Immunization. Apart from academia and national health authorities, representatives from international organizations (like WHO/EURO and ECDC) are invited to become members of the AIB board or join as observers.
The board members set the strategy and define the actions of the AIB twice a year during an advisory board meeting the evening before the AIB meetings. Board members may act in their personal capacity or as representatives of their institutions.
Source of Support
The executive secretariat of the Adult Immunization Board benefits from being seated at the University of Antwerp and the University of Florence, where it has the infrastructure and administrative services of the universities at its disposal.
The AIB is supported for its activities and meetings by an unrestricted grant from Vaccines Europe. Meeting topics and editorial control of the output and website rests entirely with the executive secretariat of the Adult Immunization Board according to all ethical rules of both Universities.
For the Board and its advisors, strict operational and scientific independence is essential. Adult Immunization Board advisers and invited experts get only travel and subsistence reimbursed according to the Universities Rules, no honorary or other forms of remuneration are paid.