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1.  Prevention of pneumococcal diseases in the post-seven valent vaccine era: A European perspective 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:207.
Background
The burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in young children decreased dramatically following introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). The epidemiology of S. pneumoniae now reflects infections caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. Recently introduced higher valency pneumococcal vaccines target the residual burden of invasive and non-invasive infections, including those caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. This review is based on presentations made at the European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in June 2011.
Discussion
Surveillance data show increased circulation of the non-PCV7 vaccine serotypes 1, 3, 6A, 6C, 7 F and 19A in countries with routine vaccination. Preliminary evidence suggests that broadened serotype coverage offered by higher valency vaccines may be having an effect on invasive disease caused by some of those serotypes, including 19A, 7 F and 6C. Aetiology of community acquired pneumonia remains a difficult clinical diagnosis. However, recent reports indicate that pneumococcal vaccination has reduced hospitalisations of children for vaccine serotype pneumonia. Variations in serotype circulation and occurrence of complicated and non-complicated pneumonia caused by non-PCV7 serotypes highlight the potential of higher valency vaccines to decrease the remaining burden. PCVs reduce nasopharyngeal carriage and acute otitis media (AOM) caused by vaccine serotypes. Recent investigations of the interaction between S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae suggest that considerable reduction in severe, complicated AOM infections may be achieved by prevention of early pneumococcal carriage and AOM infections. Extension of the vaccine serotype spectrum beyond PCV7 may provide additional benefit in preventing the evolution of AOM. The direct and indirect costs associated with pneumococcal disease are high, thus herd protection and infections caused by non-vaccine serotypes both have strong effects on the cost effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination. Recent evaluations highlight the public health significance of indirect benefits, prevention of pneumonia and AOM and coverage of non-PCV7 serotypes by higher valency vaccines.
Summary
Routine vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of pneumococcal diseases in children. The pneumococcal serotypes present in the 7-valent vaccine have greatly diminished among disease isolates. The prevalence of some non-vaccine serotypes (e.g. 1, 7 F and 19A) has increased. Pneumococcal vaccines with broadened serotype coverage are likely to continue decreasing the burden of invasive disease, and community acquired pneumonia in children. Further reductions in pneumococcal carriage and increased prevention of early AOM infections may prevent the evolution of severe, complicated AOM. Evaluation of the public health benefits of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines should include consideration of non-invasive pneumococcal infections, indirect effects of vaccination and broadened serotype coverage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-207
PMCID: PMC3462147  PMID: 22954038
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Invasive pneumococcal disease; Community-acquired pneumonia; Acute otitis media; Vaccine serotype coverage; Epidemiology-incidence
2.  Varicella vaccination in Europe – taking the practical approach 
BMC Medicine  2009;7:26.
Varicella is a common viral disease affecting almost the entire birth cohort. Although usually self-limiting, some cases of varicella can be serious, with 2 to 6% of cases attending a general practice resulting in complications. The hospitalisation rate for varicella in Europe ranges from 1.3 to 4.5 per 100,000 population/year and up to 10.1% of hospitalised patients report permanent or possible permanent sequelae (for example, scarring or ataxia). However, in many countries the epidemiology of varicella remains largely unknown or incomplete.
In countries where routine childhood vaccination against varicella has been implemented, it has had a positive effect on disease prevention and control. Furthermore, mathematical models indicate that this intervention strategy may provide economic benefits for the individual and society. Despite this evidence and recommendations for varicella vaccination by official bodies such as the World Health Organization, and scientific experts in the field, the majority of European countries (with the exception of Germany and Greece) have delayed decisions on implementation of routine childhood varicella vaccination, choosing instead to vaccinate high-risk groups or not to vaccinate at all.
In this paper, members of the Working Against Varicella in Europe group consider the practicalities of introducing routine childhood varicella vaccination in Europe, discussing the benefits and challenges of different vaccination options (vaccination vs. no vaccination, routine vaccination of infants vs. vaccination of susceptible adolescents or adults, two doses vs. one dose of varicella vaccine, monovalent varicella vaccines vs. tetravalent measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines, as well as the optimal interval between two doses of measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines).
Assessment of the epidemiology of varicella in Europe and evidence for the effectiveness of varicella vaccination provides support for routine childhood programmes in Europe. Although European countries are faced with challenges or uncertainties that may have delayed implementation of a childhood vaccination programme, many of these concerns remain hypothetical and with new opportunities offered by combined measles, mumps, rubella and varicella vaccines, reassessment may be timely.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-7-26
PMCID: PMC2697173  PMID: 19476611
3.  How to optimise the coverage rate of infant and adult immunisations in Europe 
BMC Medicine  2007;5:11.
Background
Although vaccination has been proved to be a safe, efficacious, and cost-effective intervention, immunisation rates remain suboptimal in many European countries, resulting in poor control of many vaccine-preventable diseases.
Discussion
The Summit of Independent European Vaccination Experts focused on the perception of vaccines and vaccination by the general public and healthcare professionals and discussed ways to improve vaccine uptake in Europe.
Despite the substantial impact and importance of the media, healthcare professionals were identified as the main advocates for vaccination and the most important source of information about vaccines for the general public. Healthcare professionals should receive more support for their own education on vaccinology, have rapid access to up-to-date information on vaccines, and have easy access to consultation with experts regarding vaccination-related problems. Vaccine information systems should be set up to facilitate promotion of vaccination.
Summary
Every opportunity to administer vaccines should be used, and active reminder systems should be set up. A European vaccine awareness week should be established.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-5-11
PMCID: PMC1903356  PMID: 17535430

Results 1-3 (3)