RISE-Vac Reaching the hard-to-reach: Increasing access and vaccine uptake among the prison population in Europe 



Project summary

RISE-Vac aims to improve the health of prison population in Europe by promoting vaccine literacy, enhancing vaccine offer and increasing vaccine uptake.

Tackling low vaccine coverage is a public health priority. Despite efforts, pockets of unvaccinated individuals persist in Europe. People in prison constitute a sizeable fraction of the population, in absolute number and for its rapid turnover. Incarcerated individuals largely belong to socially deprived communities with low socio-economic status and education level, high disease burden and prevalence of risk behaviours; and often, sub-optimal access to care. Prisons may be a gateway to offer appropriate and high-quality healthcare and vaccination services to individuals while in detention.

To respond to this public health priority, the RISE-Vac consortium brings together multisectoral skills, solid experience and well-established networks in the prison health field, reflecting epidemiological and structural diversities of European context.

Using state-of-the-art methodologies, RISE-Vac will

  • gather existing evidence on vaccination strategies and services targeting people in prison and combine it with prospectively collected data on (i) attitudes and vaccine learning among prison population and staff; (ii) vaccination status and vaccine uptake during incarceration
  • use a co-creation approach to develop information and training materials tailored to people in prison and staff to increase their vaccine learning
  • develop and pilot models of vaccination delivery to respond to the needs of prison population, prison settings characteristics and national priorities.

The benefits resulting from RISE-Vac activities will also accrue in the general population, increasing overall vaccine coverage. By upholding the principle that prison health is public health, the RISE-Vac project will provide tools and data-driven, evidence-based options to guide European countries in improving health status of people in prison and European population at large.


RISE-Vac stakeholders and expected impact



 Advisory Board Members


 City, Country

 Contract Person

 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

 Stockholm, Sweden

 Dr Erika Duffell

 European Monitoring Office for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)

 Lisbon, Portugal

 Ms Maria Linda Montanari

 World Health Organisation Health in Prison Programme (WHO HIPP)

 Moscow, Russia

 Prof Filipa Alves da Costa

 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

 Wien, Austria

 Dr Ehab Salah

 University of Wien

 Wien, Austria

 Prof Joerg Pont

 Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation

 Bucarest, Romania

 Dr Lucia Mihailescu

 Italian National Institute of Health

 Rome, Italy

 Dr Silvia Declich

 Irish Penal Reform Trust

 Dublin, Ireland

 Niall Walsh

 The University of Southampton 

 London, United Kingdom 

 Dr Emma Plugge 


 If you have any further questions on RISE-Vac, please contact: lara.tavoschi@unipi.it


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This project was funded by the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020).

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