Statement by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for European Immunization Week 2014

Steen Brogaard

22 April 2014

We tend to think of vaccines solely as a feature of childhood and think of diseases like measles and mumps exclusively as childhood diseases. But unfortunately, some children miss out on vaccination and face risks later in life. So-called childhood diseases can be serious in infants and adults alike and can result in long-term complications and even death. For example, whooping cough is a significant cause of death in infants worldwide. Measles in a teenager can mean long absences from school that can make the difference between going to university or not, or worse, result in grave consequences such as brain inflammation. Mumps in young men can cause infertility and rubella in pregnant women can be catastrophic to the unborn child.

On the occasion of European Immunization Week we celebrate vaccination as part of health at every stage of life. We emphasize the importance of each individual checking his or her vaccination status and getting vaccinated to protect himself or herself, as well as those most near and dear, and the communities within which we live. Thanks to dramatic advances in technology we are now able to prevent more diseases than ever before in all age groups. A good example of this is the HPV vaccine that prevents certain types of cancer caused by the human papillomavirus.

As patron of the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, I am proud to promote immunization and I would like to extend my warmest encouragement to all those across the Region who immunize, advocate and generally contribute to achieving immunity for all. Despite setbacks, each year your hard work brings us a little closer to a healthy Europe.