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Within PHIRI, the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure, a Rapid Exchange Forum (REF) on COVID-19 developments is organized every two weeks. 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. 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 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.

Rapid Exchange Forum - Overview of all questions 07.07.2022

Topic Question Date Document(s)
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
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?
35th Rapid Exchange Forum: COVID-19 mortality

COVID-19 mortality

  • How long does the entire process take to obtain ICD-10 coding of causes of death from death certificates?
  • Do you already have access to information (complete or partial) on COVID-19 as cause of death from death certificates? Have the death certificates now been integrated in the COVID-19 mortality statistics?
  • Are death certificates completed by the physician in electronic or paper format? If completed electronically, what location of death do they cover (ex. hospital only?) and what is the coverage in relation to all deaths?
  • Are there any COVID-19 mortality reports you can share, or reports of excess mortality during the COVID-19 crisis?
34th Rapid Exchange Forum: Communication Stratgegies

​​​​​​Communication strategies

  • What communication channels are currently used by official sources in your country to disseminate COVID-19 information / which is the most common tool?
  • In your opinion, which communication channels/tools are working best to reach the people in your country at this stage of the pandemic? Have there been any (recent) adaptations to your country's national communication strategies with respect to countering pandemic fatigue and improving effectiveness of communication?
33rd Rapid Exchange Forum: COVID-19 pandemic evaluation

COVID-19 pandemic evaluation

  • Have any data analyses or studies been published in your country yet (on national level, or comparing several countries) that investigate direct and indirect health impacts of the pandemic (including indicators such as excess mortality, burden of disease, diminished mental health and well-being, diminished physical activity, loneliness, years of life lost, DALYs/QALYs etc.)?
  • Other than already published works, is there data analysis currently ongoing or in preparation in your country that investigates direct and indirect health impacts of the pandemic? If so, which indicators are mainly being investigated in this scope?
32nd Rapid Exchange Forum: Strategies for winter 2022 and BA.2 subvariant

Strategies for winter 2022 and BA.2

  • Is your country taking actions at the moment (or are there plans in place) to anticipate/mitigate a potential spike in COVID-19 infections in autumn/winter 2022? Have any strategies to this effect been developed based on lessons learned in the previous two years?
  • Have plans and strategies changed in your country since emergence of the BA.2 subvariant? If so, how? Are there any recommendations you would like to share with other countries in this scope?
31st Rapid Exchange Forum: Health screening for refugees from Ukraine

Health screening for refugees from Ukraine

  • Is there any health screening protocol that is being put in place for arriving refugees from Ukraine in your country at the moment (concerning COVID-19 and/or other screenings)?
  • COVID-19 certificates from Ukraine have been established as equivalent to EU certificates in the Commission Implementing Decision 2021/1380. Are there mandatory stipulations for entry of refugees arriving to your country from Ukraine when it comes to COVID-19 vaccination status, and/or is there a non-mandatory vaccination offer for arriving refugees?
  • Are (and if so how are) additional vaccinations and vaccination history recorded for refugees from Ukraine in your country?
30th Rapid Exchange Forum: Long-term surveillance strategies

Long-term pandemic monitoring and surveillance

  • Was the 'state-of-emergency' activated in your country when the pandemic hit, or other emergency legislation set in place in order to set up a COVID-19 monitoring and surveillance system, including regulations for data access and linkage of data sources? Did your constitution already include such mechanisms before COVID-19?
  • As a state of emergency or emergency decrees are temporary, what will happen to your COVID-19 monitoring mechanism in the long run? Has a long-term strategy been developed to ensure the continuity of surveillance of COVID-19 and research?