PhD defence L. (Laura) Doornekamp
- Prof.dr. E.C.M. van Gorp
- Dr. M. Goeijenbier
On Wednesday 14 April 2021, L. Doornekamp will defend her PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Targeted Prevention of Virus Infections in Risk Populations’.
Every human being is at risk for infectious diseases. However, some are at higher risk to get sick from an infection. The current coronavirus pandemic shows how people with underlying diseases, healthcare workers but also travellers to areas with a higher prevalence are at higher risk to get infected with this virus. This is not only the case for SARS-CoV-2, but also for many other virus infections. Therefore, Laura Doornekamp studied how virus infections can be prevented in three important risk groups, namely immunocompromised patients, healthcare workers and travellers. From a national study among travellers was concluded that travellers have suboptimal protection for hepatitis A and measles, with children being at increased risk. In the studies performed among (future) healthcare workers was shown that a hepatitis B vaccination series provides (long-term) protection in medicine students and booster vaccinations may be unnecessary and that laboratory workers who work with rabies virus could be followed up with dry blood spot sampling instead of venepuncture. Immunocompromised patients are at risk for more severe infections, however, it is often questioned if their immune system will respond well to vaccines due to the compromised state. In one of the studies described in this thesis was shown that the immune response of Crohn’s disease patients with a fairly new therapy to seasonal influenza vaccination was comparable to those of healthy controls. Finally, the researchers looked into factors that contribute to protection of vulnerable patients. They concluded that education plays an important role and the recommendation of their practitioner is very influential. The social norm also has a large effect on vaccination uptake in other risk groups. Vaccination coverage rates are more defined by attitudes and perceived risks and benefits of vaccinees than knowledge about the vaccine and the disease. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to awareness of suboptimal protection of risk groups and offers new opportunities to improve this.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall or in the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.