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Public Health

Health-EU newsletter 240 - Focus

Ten actions towards vaccination for all

The European Commission and the World Health Organization (WHO) co-hosted a Global Vaccination Summit on 12 September to reverse the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases and stop the spread of vaccine misinformation. The discussions are summarised in the following actions and lessons.

Everyone should be able to benefit from the power of vaccination. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, lack of access, vaccine shortages, misinformation, complacency towards disease risks, diminishing public confidence in the value of vaccines and disinvestments are harming vaccination rates worldwide. Vaccination is indisputably one of public health’s most effective interventions. We must endeavour to sustain vaccination’s hard-won gains but also aim to do more and to do better, in view of achieving effective and equitable health systems and reduce the harm that is caused as a result of the illness and suffering that is otherwise preventable. This also includes making the necessary research and development investments to address unmet medical needs by developing new vaccines and improving existing ones.

Lessons from the day and actions needed towards vaccination for all and elimination of vaccine preventable diseases:

  1. Promote global political leadership and commitment to vaccination and build effective collaboration and partnerships -across international, national, regional and local levels with health authorities, health professionals, civil society, communities, scientists, and industry- to protect everyone everywhere through sustained high vaccination coverage rates.
  2. Ensure all countries have national immunisation strategies in place and implemented and strengthen its financial sustainability, in line with progress towards Universal Health Coverage, leaving no one behind.
  3. Build strong surveillance systems for vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly those under global elimination and eradication targets.
  4. Tackle the root-causes of vaccine hesitancy, increasing confidence in vaccination, as well as designing and implementing evidence-based interventions.
  5. Harness the power of digital technologies, so as to strengthen the monitoring of the performance of vaccination programmes.
  6. Sustain research efforts to continuously generate data on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines and impact of vaccination programmes.
  7. Continue efforts and investment, including novel models of funding and incentives, in research, development and innovation for new or improved vaccine and delivery devices.
  8. Mitigate the risks of vaccine shortages through improved vaccine availability monitoring, forecasting, purchasing, delivery and stockpiling systems and collaboration with producers and all participants in the distribution chain to make best use of, or increase existing, manufacturing capacity.
  9. Empower healthcare professionals at all levels as well as the media, to provide effective, transparent and objective information to the public and fight false and misleading information, including by engaging with social media platforms and technological companies.
  10. Align and integrate vaccination in the global health and development agendas, through a renewed Immunisation agenda 2030.

Activities at EU level

Vaccination

European Commission – Health and Food Safety

News

The European Commission and the WHO co-host the Global Vaccination Summit on 12 September 2019

The event took place under the joint auspices of Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who lend high-level visibility and political endorsement to the topic of vaccination.

HPV vaccine could prevent over 100,000 cancers, reports Public Health England

Estimates suggest that the HPV vaccine programme could prevent over 64,000 cervical cancers and nearly 50,000 non-cervical cancers by 2058.

What do Europeans think about vaccination?

This March 2019 Eurobarometer survey asked questions about Europeans’ perceptions of vaccine-preventable diseases and of the perceived effectiveness of vaccines, their experiences with vaccination, and sources of information about vaccines, among other things.

See the factsheet on EU cooperation against vaccine-preventable diseases

Measles will continue to circulate as long as there are significant immunity gaps and suboptimal vaccination coverage

In a recent European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control newsletter,ECDC Director Andrea Ammon wrote that there are three main drivers of this preventable epidemic: a large pool of people susceptible to measles, a high burden of measles among infants and adults and the continued potential of importations.

United effort agreed to by signatories of the WHO – Regional Office for Europe - European Vaccination Action Plan 2015 - 2020

Adopted by WHO/EURO region member countries in 2014, the plan set regional goals for immunization and control of vaccine-preventable diseases from 2015 to 2020 and beyond by defining objectives, priority action areas and indicators.

Read the entire Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011 – 2020 or section summaries

The Global Vaccine Action Plan ― endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 ― is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities.

20 million children missed out on lifesaving measles, diphtheria and tetanus vaccines in 2018

More than one in ten children missed out on lifesaving vaccines such as measles, diphtheria and tetanus in 2018, according to new data from WHO and UNICEF.

Over 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global immunization coverage improved, says WHO factsheet

The factsheet provides facts and figures on immunization, including the fact that an estimated 19.4 million children under the age of one did not receive the DTP3 vaccine.

Momentous global effort enables record-breaking milestone for polio and immunisation

After the introduction of inactivated polio vaccine into Zimbabwe and Mongolia’s routine immunisation programmes with Gavi’s support, every country worldwide, including all 73 Gavi-supported countries, have now introduced the vaccine which protects children against the disease.

Questions and answers on immunization and vaccine safety

WHO offers free course to professionals whose work is linked to vaccine safety issues

This course aims to establish a shared understanding among professionals whose work is linked to vaccine safety issues. This may include nurses/midwives/community health workers, as well as pharmacists, medical doctors and programme or technical officers.

New 2021-2025 high level strategy to leave no-one behind with immunisation approved by the Gavi Board

On 27 June 2019, The Gavi Board approved a new strategy to guide the Vaccine Alliance’s work over the 2021-2025 period, prioritising reaching communities with immunisation that are currently missed, such as those in urban slums, remote areas and conflict settings.

Other interesting links

World Health Organization - Vaccines

European Centre for Disease Control - Immunization and vaccines

GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation