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Within PHIRI, the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure, a Rapid Exchange Forum (REF) is organized every two weeks, addressing current developments in population health during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In this one hour meeting, the participants belonging to European public health institutes, Ministries of Health, research institutions and universities as well as EU-level stakeholders answer questions and discuss experiences from their own countries related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other population health issues requiring rapid responses. Each meeting is organized around a topic or set of topics of timely relevance to the participating countries, and answers to the questions are shared during the meeting as well as in writing immediately before or after the meetings. This allows a rapid exchange of information across countries to learn from each other’s challenges and best practices, and compare e.g. vaccination-, testing-, and communication strategies, reaction to new virus variants, mortality indicators, long-term pandemic monitoring and surveillance, and beginning impact evaluations of the pandemic. The answers to questions discussed during the REF meetings are uploaded to the Health Information Portal at the latest by the end of the week in which each meeting takes place.

Please use the search function below to browse the content of previous REF meetings. In order to search for an exact phrase, you can utilize quotation marks around your search term.

Topic Question Date Document(s)
45th Rapid Exchange Forum: Update on Long COVID management

Update on Long COVID management

  • Have there been any major changes in your country following your possible original response in early 2022 (29 REF) when it comes to existing or planned processes for coordinated management of care for long COVID patients in your country?
  • Specifically, do these processes also relate to tools for (differential) diagnosis / symptom screening for clinicians, and standardised treatment pathways for long COVID patients?
  • In addition, could you briefly describe how your country organises the treatment/management of long COVID patients? Specifically, are there specialised clinics/departments/centres and are these clinics stand-alone entities or part of larger institutions such as hospitals or primary care centres?
  • Does your country have a registry of Long COVID patients?
44th Rapid Exchange Forum: From paper to electronic death certificates

Digitalisation - going from a paper death certificate to an (100%) electronic death certificate

  • Could you describe the dataflow, from the source filling in the death certificate to the final destination (statistical institute or others)? The different stages through which a death certificate passes would be of interest.
  • If necessary, could you describe the process of making this transition between paper registration and electronic registration? What were the specific periods & phases? Have you planned a hybrid situation (paper/electronic) or an exit from the paper system and a direct transition to electronics?
  • Have you implemented direct cause-of-death coding using ICD-10 codes in the registration tool or does the doctor have to type? If you implemented direct ICD-10 coding in the tool, who set it up and is there still manual code checking? Does it contain a kind of decision tree to fill it out/to avoid obvious errors?
  • Is there a real time use of this digital data? And if not, have you planned a direct use of the data in case of epidemiological emergencies (such as COVID-19).
43rd Rapid Exchange Forum: Future vaccination priorities and vaccine trials

​​​​​​Vaccine priorites and trials addressing public health needs

  • Which of the following issues have the highest public health priority in your country in relation to future COVID-19 vaccination strategy and vaccine trials: Vaccine efficacy, vaccine development, specific populations, or any other?
  • Is there any example in your country of COVID-19 vaccine trials that are addressing public health needs?
42nd Rapid Exchange Forum: Upcoming school and kindergarten year 2022/23

Upcoming school and kindergarten year 2022/23

With regard to the upcoming school and kindergarten year and as follow-up to the situation in 2021:

  • Are there still mandatory measures in place or only voluntary initiatives? Are voluntary measures publicly supported?
  • If there are mandatory measures in place or planned for autumn/winter season what is foreseen in regard to quarantine / mask wearing / testing strategy in schools and kindergartens?
41st Rapid Exchange Forum: Cost-effectiveness of vaccines and NPIs

Cost-effectiveness of vaccines and NPIs

  • What kind of research are you developing in terms of the cost-evectiveness of vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in your country?
  • In the past since start of the pandemic, has existing evidence on cost-effectiveness of interventions already factored into political decision-making (if so, please provide details)? For future strategies on NPIs in your country, is evidence on cost-effectiveness forseen to play a role (if so, please provide details)?
  • Will it be sustainable economically to keep vaccination to the entire population? Will there be priority groups as forseen in your country?
40th Rapid Exchange Forum: Healthcare workforce conditions

Healthcare workforce conditions before and since the pandemic

In your country, what were

  • the average hours worked per week by doctors/nurses before the pandemic vs. now?
  • the average monthly salary of doctors/nurses before the pandemic vs. now?

If possible, please provide separate answers for both:

  • doctors/nurses in hospitals and
  • doctors/nurses in the outpatient sector
Rapid Exchange Forum Ad-Hoc Question (Malta): Mortality statistics

COVID-19 deaths and mortality statistics

  • In your country, are deaths where COVID-19 is reported as a contributory cause of death and not as underlying cause of death also included in mortality statistics reported to ECDC?
  • What definition is currently used in your country to report COVID-19 deaths?
  • If a person dies suddenly or of unknown cause or external cause of death and requires an autopsy, is a test for COVID-19 carried out post-mortem?
  • In reporting mortality statistics due to COVID-19, are all COVID-19 deaths (community + nursing homes + hospital) included or just hospital deaths?
  • Does a COVID-19 death require a positive laboratory diagnosis or is clinical diagnosis sufficient?
39th Rapid Exchange Forum: Comparing Summer 2020/21 to 2022

Comparing the European COVID-19 situation at the beginning of Summer 2020 and 2021 with Summer 2022

  • Is the current overall COVID-19 situation in your country similar to that at the beginning of the two previous Summer seasons (2020 and 2021), or are there clear differences?
  • Have the expectations expressed in last summer seasons regarding the European pandemic status in the Summer of 2022 come true, or has the situation developed differently from what was expected?
  • What do you expect for the 2022 Autumn season?
38th Rapid Exchange Forum: Protecting vulnerable groups

Protecting vulnerable groups

  • Is your country currently taking any actions to protect vulnerable groups (i.e. groups who are, due to their own health status, highly susceptible to severe COVID-19)? For example, if no obligatory mouth nose protection needs to be worn, are there e.g. specific train compartments where masks are worn or similar measures?
  • How do you define vulnerable groups? (Are these primarily groups who define themselves as vulnerable or are defined as vulnerable based on existing evidence?)
37th Rapid Exchange Forum: National public vaccination plans

National public vaccination plans

  • Do you have a publicly funded plan with recommended vaccinations (for everyone or only for kids)? If yes, please provide the link if it is published.
  • In the light of Chickenpox and Diphtheria, are there any plans to update publicly funded vaccination plan? For which disease(s) and for which age-cohort?
  • If not, when did the last update take place in regard to which disease or booster jab?