Health-EU Newsletter - Childhood immunisation: safe and effective prevention

Issue 97, 4 October 2012

In this edition


Childhood immunisation: safe and effective prevention

By Herta Adam, Health Threats Unit, European Commission, DG Health and Consumers

Vaccines are one of the most remarkable health interventions ever developed. Vaccination eradicated smallpox and has kept Europe polio-free since 2002 – diseases that caused death and disability for millions of people in the past. The incidence of other diseases such as diphtheria or tetanus has been drastically reduced since routine vaccination against these diseases was introduced.


Yet, we are far away from maximising the potential benefit provided by many of the vaccines available today. The unnecessary disease burden and costs caused every day by vaccine-preventable diseases is not acceptable, even more so in the current times of economic austerity.


In June 2011, Council Conclusions on childhood immunisation were adopted. They emphasise the need to achieve and maintain high childhood immunisation coverage, to improve surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases and to monitor vaccination coverage. Furthermore they propose to develop and implement communication strategies and to increase access to vaccination for under-vaccinated groups. All these topics will be addressed during the Conference on childhood immunisation organised by the European Commission on 16–17 October 2012 in Luxembourg. The conference will take stock of the actions taken so far to follow up the Council Conclusions and will provide a platform to discuss priority areas for future EU-level action with a wide range of stakeholders. You are most welcome to follow the conference live via web streaming.

News from the EU

Safer, more effective and innovative medical devices

To ensure the safety of European citizens, the European Commission has proposed two new Regulations for medical devices. Medical devices range from simple sticking plasters to the most sophisticated life-support machines.

'Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable' campaign wins two prestigious awards!

The EU "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable" campaign won a Gold Euro Effie and the Best innovative use of Print Award. It's the first time a European Institution has been awarded a Euro Effie. The jury praised the positive insight that smokers are addressed in a new non- judgemental way, the innovative aspects of the campaign providing hands-on help to quit smoking and the excellent use of traditional and innovative media.

Commissioner Dalli delivers speech on personalised medicine

John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, attended a meeting of the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine to speak about personalised medicine and the recent Commission proposal on clinical trials.

New multilingual website provides reliable information on urological diseases

This website, an initiative of the European Association of Urology, aims to provide reliable unbiased, comprehensive and clear information on urological diseases in several languages.

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation – 13 October

Since 1998, the Council of Europe in 1998 promotes this day to encourage debate in Member States and provide information on organ donation and transplantation, legal and medical measures. This year the event will be in Budapest, Hungary.

European drugs agency annual award ceremony for scientific writing held in Lisbon

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) scientific paper award celebrates scientific writing and distinguishes high-quality research in the field of illicit drugs. This year’s winners are from Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Commissioner Dalli delivers speech at the 8th Conference of European Regions and Cities

John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, participates at Panel Discussion: "cost efficient healthcare and hospital management at regional and local levels".

Reporting from across Europe


A Swiss-Polish health cooperation programme

Switzerland has contributed CHF 39 million to health programmes across Poland, which will cover preventive care and health promotion related to: obesity, prevention of HIV infection, prevention of the use of drugs by expectant mothers and improvement of oral health in children up to five years old. The Polish Ministry of Health is contributing PLN 9 million.


Flu vaccine season has started

The Ministry of Health of Luxembourg have launched a new winter campaign to encourage the public and medical professionals to take the flu vaccine.

EU Press Releases

Report says many Europeans are still exposed to harmful air pollutants

A new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that many parts of Europe have persistent problems with outdoor concentrations of particulate matter and ground level ozone. Particulate matter can be harmful to human health as it penetrates sensitive parts of the respiratory system.

Forthcoming Events

Conference on childhood immunisation: progress, challenges and priorities for further action (Luxembourg, 16-17 October 2012)

Organised by the European Commission – DG Health and Consumers, the event will present an opportunity to take stock of the recent initiatives on childhood immunisation taken by the EU.

The 4th World Health Summit 2012 'Research for Health and Sustainable Development'(Berlin, 21-24 October 2012)

Under the patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande, the World Health Summit aims at a common goal: to shape healthcare for the 21st century.

Why is it important to be vaccinated? Lessons learned from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases (Luxembourg, 15-16 October 2012)

A press conference on vaccination will be held by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumer (EAHC).

New Publications

Health for the EU in 33 success stories

A new publication from the European Commission, DG Health and Consumers, this brochure showcases successful projects funded by the EU Health Programmes.

The European Health Literacy Survey – final report

The final report of the European Health Literacy Survey, funded by the EU and conducted during the summer of 2011 across eight European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain) has been published.

Roma Health Newsletter

Published by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe in cooperation with the European Commission (DG SANCO).

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) Annual Review 2011

It highlights HEAL accomplishments and collaborations with member organisations and partners in different policy areas, showcasing how environmental action results in better health.

EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health – 2012 annual report

The platform is a forum for European-level organisations, ranging from the food industry to consumer protection NGOs, willing to commit to tackling current trends in diet and physical activity.

What's New on Health-EU

Air pollution continues to kill thousands, costing billions

Aphekom project shows significant health benefits result when effective EU policies on air pollution are implemented and complied with over time.

EU and FC Barcelona team up against smoking

John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, and FC Barcelona President, Sandro Rosell, have announced a new smoking cessation partnership between the European Commission and FC Barcelona. The ‘Quit Smoking with Barça’ is designed to help Europe’s 28 million smokers in the 25–34 year old age group across Europe to become ex-smokers.


Childhood immunisation: safe and effective prevention

Activities at EU level

Health-EU – Vaccinations

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers

Public Health – Vaccination

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Vaccine-preventable diseases programme

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Public Health – Childhood immunisation

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers


Introduction of HPV vaccines in girls in European Union countries – an update

European agency recommends routine HPV vaccination to target girls aged 10-14 years old, before the onset of sexual activity.

Medicines for children – Major developments

 Public consultation on the experience acquired with the paediatric regulation.

EU Health Prize for journalists – Articles

Who’s afraid of vaccines? By Antonino Michienzi, National winner, Italy

The article talks about the growing trend amongst parents not to vaccinate their children and the risks they take.

Health Programme Projects

Promote Vaccinations among Migrant Populations in Europe (PROMOVAX)

This is a 3-year project aiming to promote vaccination among migrant populations in Europe adding to the knowledge on barriers concerning migrants’ immunisations.

Vaccine European New Integrated Collaboration Effort (VENICE)

The Venice project aims to collect, share and disseminate knowledge and best practice in field of vaccination through a network of European experts.

Other interesting links

UNICEF – Immunization summary 2012

World Health Organization – Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Health-EU. The Public Health Portal of the European Union
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