Models of COVID-19 vaccination services in prison in six European countries: translating emergency intervention into routine life-course vaccination
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Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Italy
Penitentiary Infectious Diseases Service, Santi Paolo e Carlo Hospital, University of Milan, Italy
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy
National Administration of Penitentiaries, Republic Of Moldova
Cyprus Prison Department, Ministry of Justice and Public Order, Cyprus
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Montpellier, France
Heidelberg University, Germany
UK Health Security Agency, United Kingdom
ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo Presidio Ospedale San Carlo Borromeo, San Paolo Hospital, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A753
  Introduction: Vaccinations are one of the most powerful preventive tools discovered by modern medicine. Although expanded programs of immunization are well established in EU/EEA, significant immunity gaps and suboptimal coverage are registered among specific populations, including people living in prisons (PLP). PLP are also at increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) with potential outbreaks in prison, e.g. Flu, covid-19, as well as other VPDS such as HBV. The EU-funded project rise-vac, aimed at collecting models of care developed during the pandemic to design tailored vaccine delivery strategies that could be extended beyond the sole covid-19 vaccine. Methods: Through a survey administered to healthcare staff working in prisons in six countries of the EU/EEA (Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Moldova, up) we collected information on the implementation of covid-19 vaccination program. The following areas were investigated: challenges and barriers encountered, workload distribution, education and training activities for prison staff and PLP, referral strategies after release, and immunization information system. Results: The respondents reported that in prisons covid-19 programs have been implemented efficiently. Strategies for optimal management of the vaccination campaign included: week-days dedicated to vaccination services when vaccines were delivered and immediately administered to overcome cold chain challenges; new staff recruitment and task shifting; administration of booster doses within prison premises for released individuals; distribution of informational material both to PLP and prison staff. Conclusions: Our results show that universal immunization campaigns are feasible, acceptable and effective in places of detention when there is the commitment to implementing them. Evidence from the pandemic situation may inform the future provision of expanded immunization programs.
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