Early March 2020 – global pandemic state declared. Late December 2020 – the first Covid-19 vaccine became available in the European Union. Vaccination started at the same time, with enough doses, in every member state. It was unprecedented in the EU. The innovation used was unapproved before, but the scientific research began 20 years ago. Many vaccines followed and were made available to all MS.
More than 1 year later, there are MS with more than 90% vaccination rate, while others barely reached 40%. These rates apply to the two doses vaccination scheme, which in the Omicron scenario brings little benefit at the individual and societal level.
Something is missing from this equation. This ongoing situation is the live proof of what we, at the Centre for Innovation in Medicine, were already shouting out loud for years: while providing early access to innovation is essential, it is not enough.
Attitudes, perceptions and behaviours – a new model for citizen engagement.
There have been intensive discussions around the lessons learned from the COVID-19 experience. The pandemic has ended as a social phenomenon – this fact was presented without a shadow of a doubt by many national, european, international authorities.
We are now at a critical point to apply one of the most important lessons: understanding the pivotal role of human behaviour in shaping the evolution of the public health crisis which is still a reality.
Our research at the Centre for Innovation in Medicine shows that there are many common points between the fight against COVID-19 and cancer, for which we collect data starting 2016. Putting the citizen at the centre of health policy should start with understanding behaviours, attitudes and perceptions.