24 December 2017
Written by Elena Moya
Hundreds of delegates, over 90 speakers and 150 abstract presenters came together in Vienna at the Excellence in Paediatrics Conference on 6th-8th December 2017. On the Friday afternoon, the conference saw a session on infectious diseases, which included a presentation from CoMO on our European Adolescent Survey results.
Andrew Riordan, a Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, UK, gave a session on whether antipyretics should be used before vaccinations. One of his conclusions was that paracetamol should be recommended both before and afterBexsero is administered. However, Andrew noted that Paracetamol is not routinely recommended before other vaccines are administered, and that taking Ibuprofen before a vaccination is given will not harness any results. In addition, both Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are good pain relievers after immunisation.
Next, Professor Catherine Weil-Olivier presented a very informative session on the impact of the Routine National Immunisation Programme on antibiotics throughout Europe. She presented data on a variety of different countries, such as Norway and its aetiology of pneumonia post PCV routine policy. At the end of the session, she answered questions relating specifically to France, as this is where Catherine lives.
Catherine and I concluded the session on Infectious Diseases with a presentation on CoMO’s European Adolescent Survey findings, which was conducted between 24th March and 3rd April 2017. To begin with, I presented the worldwide figures on meningitis and told the story of Kia Gott, a little girl from the UK left currently with severe sequelae.
I explained that compared to the other countries, Swedish respondents have less knowledge of vaccinations and meningitis; half the respondents did not know that vaccinations are the best way to stay protected, and more than half have not heard of meningitis. However, awareness campaigns led by CoMO members such as Meningitis Research Foundation, Meningitis Now and Liberi Dalla Meningitis are successful in the UK and Italy.
Professor Weil-Olivier presented the scientific part of the European Adolescent Survey and the respondents attitudes towards vaccinations. She highlighted the worrying situation in France where almost half of the teens think that vaccines are dangerous. In general 18% of the respondents don’t trust vaccines, which shows that a lot of work must be done to prevent or end this hesitancy. Notably, education around vaccination seems mandatory in Europe, and the survey found that this education should be done by parents and doctors because adolescents trust them the most.
To conclude, it was a privilege to be invited to attend the Excellence in Paediatrics conference, and I was overjoyed to be able to represent CoMO and share our survey findings with health professionals from all over the world.
Elena Moya is CoMo's Europe Africa Regional Coordinator and Vice President of AEM. She has been working in meningitis awareness and prevention for the last 10 years and currently lives in Spain. Read Elena's meningitis story here.