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Adult and adolescent migrants worldwide, and those arriving in Europe, are an under-immunised group for routine vaccinations due to missed childhood vaccines and doses in their countries of origin, and their subsequent marginalisation from health and vaccination systems. Declining population-level coverage for routine vaccines across Europe, which has accelerated post-pandemic, places these and other under-immunised populations at even greater risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. However, despite clear guidelines around the importance of delivering ‘catch-up’ vaccination throughout the life-course, migrants are rarely effectively incorporated into routine vaccination programmes on arrival to Europe. These populations have subsequently been involved in outbreaks, including measles and diphtheria, and are missing opportunities to receive more recently introduced vaccines such as HPV to align them with European vaccine schedules. WHO's new Immunization Agenda 2030 places a renewed emphasis on equitable access to vaccine systems and integrating catch-up vaccination for missed vaccines and doses throughout the life-course. In addition, lessons learned and innovations from the COVID-19 pandemic merit further consideration in the design and delivery of more inclusive vaccination programmes. We describe current gaps in policy and practice around life-course vaccination in migrant populations, key factors that drive low vaccine uptake and coverage, and explore the benefits of participatory approaches to designing and delivering interventions with impacted communities, to define new strategies to advance vaccine equity across the Region.

Original publication




Journal article


The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Publication Date