Report on the 1st international workshop on procedures for the development of evidence-based vaccination recommendations, Berlin, Germany, 22–23 November 2010
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In November 2010, experts from European and North-American countries met in Berlin, Germany, to discuss improved methods for the development of evidence-based vaccination recommendations. The objectives of the workshop were to (i) review current procedures and experiences of National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) in developing a framework for evidence-based vaccination recommendations, (ii) discuss the applicability of methods like Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE), and (iii) to identify opportunities for international collaboration to support NITAGs in the development of vaccination recommendations at country-level. Recognizing that a systematic and transparent approach is necessary to promote the quality and acceptance of vaccination recommendations, various decision making frameworks have been implemented by national and international advisory groups addressing common key aspects of knowledge, such as the burden of disease or characteristics of the vaccine. There are several challenges when grading the quality of evidence of some immunization-specific topics (e.g. population-level effects of vaccination). This does not, however, necessitate development of an entirely new systematic methodology. The participants concluded that (i) GRADE or a modification of this methodology is suitable for the grading of quality of evidence related to vaccine effectiveness and safety, and that (ii) international cooperation would be beneficial to develop common framework methodologies for certain aspects of national immunization recommendation developments in order to avoid duplication of efforts, to build on existing strengths, and to support NITAGs worldwide.
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