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Reducing Inequalities in Vaccine uptake in the European Region - Engaging Underserved communities

Health system barriers in vaccine uptake disproportionately affect specific ethnic, religious or cultural minorities across Europe and are therefore a major contributor to low vaccine uptake in these groups.

RIVER-EU aims to identify and remove these barriers, specifically focusing on MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination in selected underserved communities (migrant community in Greece, Turkish females and Moroccan females in the Netherlands, Ukrainian minority in Poland and Roma community in Slovakia). First, we will analyse health system barriers and enablers to the vaccination of these communities, and then tailor existing interventions or develop new ones, which will be implemented and evaluated. Research findings will be translated in evidence-based guidelines and an educational platform for health care professionals that can be used to address equitable access to vaccination across Europe.

We will use the Participatory Action Research approach to involve the target groups and key stakeholders, and to foster collaboration and knowledge co-creation among all stakeholders in every phase of the project. By building on existing research, findings and available information as well as on existing guidelines and recommendations, we will 1) increase understanding of the determinants of low vaccine uptake in specific contexts situated in the EU and/or Associated countries; 2) develop strategies to increase vaccination rates within these contexts; and 3) develop a series of recommendations that national and regional public health authorities could implement in order to increase vaccine coverage. Through the interdisciplinary approach and strong involvement of end-users and relevant stakeholders, we will maximize RIVER-EU’s impact by making sure the guidelines will be readily implementable, thus reducing health inequalities and improving access to vaccination services among underserved communities and increasing vaccine uptake and coverage in Europe.

Latest updates about the RIVER-EU project

The project website can be found here.

Commission website: