Immunizations in specific populations

Different populations, such as the immunocompromised, newcomers, and some Indigenous Peoples may require unique approaches to ensure that optimal immunization coverage and efficacy are obtained. Sessions in this stream will explore the unique needs of specific populations, how services are accessed across the country, and innovative approaches that are being developed and implemented to promote uptake, but also efficacy of vaccines. Factors such as changes to the vaccine, changes to the adjuvant, and the number of doses will be considered to ensure a healthy and protected population.

Making and implementing policy

Policy-makers need to be able to communicate effectively in the planning and implementation of vaccine programs. Sessions in this stream will explore the various facets of vaccine-related policy development and implementation from cost-benefit analyses and program modelling to decision-making processes and evaluation. What are the key factors driving policy decisions and systematic approaches for considering the evidence that promote health and health equity? How are various types of evidence used to decide what should be publicly funded and for whom?  Sessions will look to international examples for promising approaches.

New developments in vaccines and their use

The field of vaccine research and development is constantly evolving and the complex process involves a combination of public and private involvement. Sessions in this stream will explore new vaccines, adjuvants, advances in technology and other enhancements that are in development. The topic will be covered from a variety of angles such as new vaccines that are coming to market, new uses for existing vaccines, new vaccine schedules, new trends in vaccines and uptake, and emerging pathogens.

Optimal practice

Evidence based vaccine administration standards, effective communication, and optimal storage and handling practices are key components of an effective immunization program. Recommended administration practices are based on clinical trials that determine the dose, route, schedule and storage requirements for each vaccine. The PHAC Immunization Competencies for Health Professionals set professional standards, guide practice, and provide a framework for immunization program development. Sessions in this stream will explore the importance of education and training for providers who administer vaccines to the public. The significance of programs to monitor the quality of immunization services and the competence of providers will be examined.

Vaccine uptake and acceptance

Vaccine hesitancy and sub-optimal immunization rates remain significant challenges in protecting Canadians against vaccine preventable diseases. Sessions in this stream will explore challenges and innovative ways to improve vaccine acceptance and uptake for specific and general populations in Canada. Are low immunization rates simply a factor of complacency or is it directly related to pervasive myths and misconceptions that hinder vaccine uptake? Strategies to improve the situation will hinge on an understanding of the full scope of the issue, which includes a focus on the individual’s interaction with health professionals as well as their knowledge, beliefs and other practices.