Vaccinations in migrants and refugees: a challenge for European health systems. A systematic review of current scientific evidence

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Fifty-eight papers were included in a qualitative synthesis to assess frequency of vaccine preventable diseases, and vaccination coverage among migrants and refugee in Europe. Results found that migrants and refugees have lower immunization rates than European-born population.

Studies have shown that countries of origin of migrants and refugees have decreased immunization rates. A qualitative systematic review was performed to assess frequency of vaccine preventable diseases, as well as vaccine coverage, among migrants and refugees in Europe. Fifty-eight papers were obtained from Medline and Cochrane databases. The analyzed diseases included hepatitis B measles, rubella, mumps, tetanus, poliomyelitis, pertussis, diphtheria, meningitis, and varicella. While there was inadequate data for several of the analyzed diseases, several studies concluded that migrants and refugees have lower immunization rates. Reasons for lower immunization rates include to low vaccine coverage in the country of origin, constant migration preventing multiple doses, lack of patient registration, and lack of coordination of public health authorities. The authors recommend increased follow-up of vaccination status upon entry to Europe.

 

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