Screening and vaccination of migrants in Europe – an interview with Sally Hargreaves

This May, we’re focusing some of our pieces around travel and migration – an area that is of increasing importance to healthcare in today’s globalized world. In light of this we spoke to Sally Hargreaves, who presented some of her research on migrant health at the recent European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID; 21–24 April, Madrid, Spain).

In this interview Sally, a Senior Research Fellow at Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine (London, UK), speaks about her work on issues relating to the vaccination and screening of migrants, in addition to discussing some of the wider issues facing migrant’s access to healthcare in Europe.

First, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I’m Sally Hargreaves, I’m based at the International Health Unit at Imperial College London (UK) and as a unit we have been exploring disparities in access to health services and numerous issues pertaining to the health of migrants. The unit comprises clinicians and researchers and we’ve got a particular focus on infectious diseases, including TB, latent TB, hepatitis and HIV.

Currently we’re doing various projects looking at the effectiveness of migrant screening and how best to engage migrants and ensure they access meaninful healthcare as soon as possible after arrival. Our latest focus is on vaccination where we’ve spotted a complete gap in research around to what extent migrants are an underimmunized group in Europe and how they contribute to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases; we’ve just started a research collaboration with Public Health England to investigate whether we can more effectively collect data on the vaccination status of migrants presenting to primary care and improve our knowledge in this area.

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