Access to Vaccination for Newly Arrived Migrants (AcToVax4NAM) is a 3-year European project with a mission to increase the vaccination uptake in Newly Arrived Migrants (NAM). The beneficiaries are Newly Arrived Migrants (NAM) in first line transit and destination EU/EEA countries, regardless of their legal status.

The AcToVax4NAM project

The AcToVax4NAM project responds to the overarching strategy of the European Commission that aims to improve the vaccination uptake in the EU while reducing access inequities. The project responded to a specific call under 3rd EU Health Programme for an “Increased access to vaccination for newly arrived migrants in first line, transit and destination countries”. Our Project circle shows how we will translate knowledge and evidence into action and vice versa.

1. Mission

The AcToVax4ΝΑΜ consortium mission is to improve the health system’s vaccination literacy and access and thereby vaccination uptake for Newly Arrived Migrants (NAM), making access conditions more equitable and guaranteed. The project targets Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) and adopts a life course approach.

2. . Defining the knowledge base

The AcToVax4ΝΑΜ project defines a sound scientific knowledge base from the in depth review of the existing literature and policies, and the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. The knowledge base will guide the development and implementation of training and the piloting of solutions and tools.

3. Involving, developing and planning new initiatives

The AcToVax4ΝΑΜ project involves the active participation of the target group throughout the duration of the project to achieve a widespread acceptance of the proposed solutions and tools. Moreover, the project aims to create networks of collaboration and alliances that will continue to work on the vaccination of NAMs well beyond the duration of the project. AcToVax4ΝΑΜ develops important tools such as a General Conceptual Framework and country specific flow charts that can guide the optimal implementation of vaccination activities and the increase uptake in NAMs. The project develops vaccination literacy tools, develops and implements training activities and pilots solutions on the ground, in an effort to increase awareness and capacity among professionals FOR health who work with NAMs.

4. Implementing

The AcToVax4ΝΑΜ project tests evidence based solutions and tools to overcome system level barriers and increase vaccination literacy and coverage among NAMs. We are not reinventing the wheel, but piloting in new environments and hosting countries, adapting to circumstances, and localizing methods and tools.

5. Evaluating

The AcToVax4ΝΑΜ project is rigorously evaluating all implemented activities and results, testing indicators which measure satisfaction, increase in uptake, but also long term sustainability and impact, while evaluation methods are being informed also by external experts. Evaluation results will contribute to inform the project’s final recommendations.

6. Turning action into new knowledge

The experience, learning and results of the AcToVax4ΝΑΜ project will be transferred into new knowledge in the form of evidence based solutions, toolkits and guidance that will be useful to the community of professionals FOR health who work with NAMs. Results will inform our evidence based recommendations that will be widely disseminated in events during the later periods of the project. Results will be presented also in scientific conferences and journals informing the scientific community of the new knowledge acquired through the project.

Why is increased access to vaccination for Newly Arrived Migrants important?

It is paramount to ensure equitable worldwide vaccine coverage in both native and migrant populations to reduce and prevent the presence of under-immunized groups. Vaccines is the only scientifically proven method to protect everyone against severe or life-threatening health consequences of diseases and to break the chain of transmission. Therefore, NAMs are urgently needed to be explicitly and proactively included in the national vaccination plans, as recognition of the interdependence between migrant health and public health.

The public health system has an important role in improving both the health and its social determinants for NAM within the EU/EEA. In this framework, it is essential the public health system continues to train health professionals to improve their cultural sensitivity, and adapt their approaches and communications, while strengthening collaboration between all stakeholders involved in migrant’s health.

Lifelong universal access to vaccinations is recommended for ALL – regardless of migratory status of the individual – is aligned with the local policies and resources, as well as is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 3.8 “Achieve Universal Health Coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”.