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THE PROJECT

The Vaccine European New Integrated Collaboration Effort (VENICE) III project is an evolution of two previous projects (VENICE I and VENICE II) in the field of vaccination. The first VENICE was performed in the years 2006-2008, sponsored by EC-DG SANCO; VENICE II, committed and funded by ECDC, was carried out in the years 2009-2013. Twenty-seven EU member states and two EEA/EFTA countries (Iceland and Norway) participated in the project.

The two VENICE projects have had a relevant impact in the Union: a collaborative European network of experts working in immunization programs was created; a common interest in sharing experience and expertise in theme of vaccination was documented; tools and procedures to facilitate exchanges were designed; immunisation strategies, vaccination adverse events surveillance systems, modalities for vaccine coverage assessment, computerized immunization registries were explored; relevant information on immunization programs were collected at national and sub national level; the process of introduction of two recently licensed vaccines, HPV and rotavirus vaccination, was monitored; the opportunity of collecting immunisation coverage data at European level was investigated and a model for coverage data collection (EVACO) was designed, built and successfully piloted in the VENICE network.

In order to go on this successful experience, a new European project was committed and funded by ECDC: VENICE III that started in December 2013 with the aim of collecting, sharing and disseminating information on national immunization programmes through a network of professionals and providing information useful to build up methodologies and provide guidance for improving the overall performance of the immunisation systems in the EU/EEA Member States.

The project Consortium has been enlarged, including six National Public health Institutes and a Consortium of Universities for the technological support; the number of participating countries has increased: all the 30 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are involved in the VENICE III project; the website has been adapted to the needs of the new network and the previous results were incorporated. The project covers several important topics in the field of vaccination: collection of information on selected vaccination programs at national and sub national level, monitoring of the status of introduction of new vaccinations in member states, investigation and improvement of the quality of vaccination coverage data, updating of immunization schedules, sharing of data and improvement of methodology and resources of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups in the EU/EEA countries. The duration of the project is two years, renewable for further two years.

The main change, from the previous projects, is that the VENICE network is going to migrate into an official ECDC Vaccine Preventable Diseases network, with experts appointed by the Competent Bodies of each member state.

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