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Vaccines save lives: EU/WHO on European Immunisation Week
Today, the European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have issued a joint statement on the crucial importance of vaccination for immunisation and disease prevention in the European Union and the wider WHO European Region. The statement highlights the strong contribution of vaccines to public health:
"Vaccines have contributed to the health and wellbeing of everyone alive today in the European Union and the wider WHO European Region. In the last 60 years, immunisation has saved more children's lives than any other medical intervention. The impact of this revolution in disease prevention over just a few decades is enormous. Measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year, before widespread vaccination was put in place in 1980. Thanks to Maurice Hilleman's measles vaccine this highly contagious disease is now preventable. It is a blessing and an achievement that these diseases are largely behind us."
Each year, the European Immunisation Week celebrates the tremendous progress made thanks to vaccines. Furthermore, it provides an occasion to take stock of the tasks still lying ahead to secure public health such as reducing health system barriers and ensure public trust in immunisation. Member States have shown a strong commitment to this issue by endorsing the European Vaccine Action Plan, the European Health 2020 policy framework and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the full statement by Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis and the WHO Regional Director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, here.