Location: Antigua, Guatemala
Dates: 25 February – 1 March 2013
Purpose: 1) To exchange experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of pilot efforts in Central America to evaluate influenza vaccine effectiveness 2) To learn about the experiences of I-MOVE (a European Network to measure the effectiveness of influenza vaccines) and 3) To gauge country interest in conforming a similar network in the Americas.
Participants: Technical staff representing the influenza surveillance and immunization programmes of the Ministries of Health of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Uruguay, the European I-MOVE network, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Training Program in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), and PAHO.
Details: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama have conducted pilot case control efforts in sentinel hospitals to evaluate the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent severe acute respiratory illness among the elderly and young children with the technical support of CDC, PAHO and TEPHINET.
Presentations during the meeting covered a variety of topics including the current situation in the Americas with regards to seasonal influenza vaccine use and methodological and data issues relating to the evaluation of influenza effectiveness. Country representatives shared lessons learned from the pilot efforts as well as the results of other influenza studies in the Region. Technical experts from I-MOVE also presented on experience of establishing this noteworthy multicenter collaboration and some of the results obtained in Spain. A proposal was presented to formally establish a similar type of network in the Americas. On 27 February 2013, the Technical Declaration of Antigua was signed by all countries and institutions in attendance, thus establishing the Network for the Evaluation of Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in Latin America and the Caribbean (REVELAC-i).
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, March 2013.