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Scientific Reference Group for National Immunisation Programs

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Information about the group's tasks, composition and members. The reference group is a National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) reporting to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).


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The Scientific Reference Group Tasks

  • Supports the NIPH in identifying the need for changes in the national immunisation program or introducing new broad vaccination recommendations, e.g.
    • introducing vaccines against new diseases
    • broadening vaccine recommendations to larger population groups
    • changing the number of or intervals between doses for existing vaccines
    • changing recommendations regarding age and risk groups
  • Provides input to the NIPH on which investigations should be initiated and in which order with regard to changes in the national immunisation program.
  • Provides comments on the NIPH's proposals for reports and recommendations on changes in the national vaccination program before they are submitted to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.
  • Evaluates and comments on vaccine recommendation proposals from the NIPH.
  • Advocates to the government to promote attention to national vaccination programs and other vaccine recommendations.

The reference group's work is scientifically based, with assessments founded on knowledge-based documentation. This includes a systematic approach and assessment of available data and recommendations. 

Transparency, predictability and independence are important principles for maintaining public confidence in the national immunisation program, and the scientific reference group strives to uphold these principles.

The reference group has no decision-making authority. The Director general of the Institute of Public Health decides which documentation should be sent to the Ministry of Health and Care Services, including recommendations to change the national immunisation program or proposals for changes in vaccines that are paid by the government.

Procurement of vaccines for the programs is FHI's responsibility, and the reference group should not be involved in this work.

Appointment and Composition

The reference group consists of nine representatives including community members, healthcare workers and government workers. Membership diversity is intended to reflect the breadth of various fields affected by vaccination issues in the country.

The reference group's members and personal deputy members are appointed by the Director  general of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. 

Members and deputies represent the following areas:

  • General Practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Infectious Disease
  • Community Medicine (municipal / infectious)
  • Microbiology
  • Epidemiology
  • Immunology
  • Health Nurse Service
  • Community Members
  • The Norwegian Medicines Agency
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Directorate of Health
  • Municipal Association of Local Authorities (KS)

Employees of pharmaceutical companies producing vaccines cannot be appointed as members of the reference group.

Current members:

  • Hege Kristin Aune Jørgensen, Norwegian Society of Social Medicine
  • Claus Klingenberg, Norwegian Pediatric Association
  • Kristin Greve-Isdahl Mohn, Norwegian Association for Infectious Medicine
  • Veselka Petrova Dimova-Svetoslavova, Norwegian Association for Medical Microbiology
  • Inger Johanne Bakken, Norwegian Association for Epidemiology
  • Elena Danilova, Norwegian Association for Immunology and Transfusion Medicine
  • Mone Tsahai Kildal, Norwegian Nursing Association, the national group of health nurses
  • David Benee Olsen, Norwegian Medicines Agency
  • Svein Høegh Henrichsen, Directorate of Health
  • Ellen Furuseth, Institute of Public Health deputies
  • Cecilie Ruud Dangmann, Norwegian Nursing Association, the national group of health nurses
  • Andreas Skulberg, Directorate of Health
  • NN, Public Health Institute

Impartiality

All members of the reference group must submit a declaration of eligibility to the Institute of Public Health regarding any conflicts of interest. The authorities' template should be used. Impartiality issues are dealt with on an ongoing basis throughout the period, and leader of the reference group should be informed as soon as possible should impartiality status change. The declaration of eligibility is evaluated by the NIPH and archived.

Meetings

The reference group meets at least twice a year and as needed. For special needs, it can be called for extra meetings, possibly in the form of video or telephone conferences. The meeting agenda must be sent out at least two weeks before the meeting, and all supporting documents must be sent out at least one week before the meeting. Items for the agenda can be suggested by all members of the reference group. A point about disability should always be on the agenda.

You can find agenda and meeting minutes (in Norwegian) for the scientific reference group here: Agenda and meeting minutes.