Immunisation is a safe and cost-effective way to protect people – especially infants and young children – from certain infectious diseases. All EU countries have a vaccination schedule, recommending the vaccines to be given at various ages during childhood.
Despite this, many children in Europe go unvaccinated and remain vulnerable to potentially life-threatening diseases. The key to preventing serious consequences as a result, is to ensure that every community is not only prepared but also well informed.
Debunking myths, promoting science based arguments and ensuring that individuals understand the importance of vaccines at every stage of life is as crucial as providing equitable access to the vaccines available to protect them.
Improving rates of childhood immunisation at EU level
Following agreement on the need to strengthen childhood immunisation at EU level in the 2011 Council Conclusions on childhood immunisation, the Commission (together with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is supporting EU countries by:
- Advising on best-practice measures during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases
- Funding projects on immunisation through the Health Programme
- Improving data for monitoring vaccination coverage (via the VENICE network)
- Encouraging European associations of healthcare professionals to help advocate childhood immunisation to parents
- Providing objective and evidence-based information to healthcare professionals (e.g. European public assessment reports).