The Fourth ESWI Influenza Conference, 11-14 September 2011, Malta : Abstract book
The influenza community gathered in Saint-Julian's (Malta) from 11 until 14 September 2011 for the Fourth ESWI Influenza Conference. ESWI Chair Ab Osterhaus opened the conference by reminding the 993 participants of the timeliness to discuss issues related to vaccination and pandemic preparedness in the light of the ongoing 'lessons learnt from H1N1' evaluation, and the likelihood that another pandemic will strike European health systems in the future. European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli sent a video message in which he stressed the urgent need for improved and equitable access of vaccines at EU level. Notably, he announced that the European Commission would present a foundation for a Joint Procurement Mechanism at the end of 2011 so that EU citizens are better protected from cross-border health threats in the future. He also said that the Commission is making an increased effort to work with the Member States and the ECDC to promote vaccination coverage, especially amongst health care workers and people at risk. Being held in the aftermath of the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century, the conference was well timed to respond to this global issue from various aspects. In addition, the conference provided a platform to discuss the most recent advances in influenza research, control, prevention and treatment. Renowned keynote speakers, chairpersons and lecturers made the conference a key scientific meeting. All scientific sessions were co-chaired by a young scientist, a token of ESWI’s commitment to the future of our field. In keeping with ESWI’s aim to stimulate and facilitate interactions between different disciplines, the Programme Committee had developed a second track, specifically dedicated to public health officials. The separate programme has been named ‘Science Policy Interface’. In seven dedicated sessions, it ‘applied’ the newest scientific data to influenza policy practice.