European Immunization Week in the classroom

WHO/Malin Bring

Lesson on vaccination in a school in Sadova, Romania, provided by local family doctor Gindrovel Dumitra, 18 April 2016

The 11th European Immunization Week (EIW) takes place on 24–30 April 2016. This year, EIW focuses at regional level on the substantial progress that has been made towards eliminating measles and rubella, and the steps needed to achieve elimination throughout the European Region.

Launch in Romania

Romania is working to interrupt endemic transmission of both measles and rubella. It was one of the first countries to launch its EIW 2016 campaign, starting in mid-April with a series of events to raise awareness about the importance of immunization among schoolchildren, parents and physicians.

On 16 April in Alba Iuila, the National Association of Family Doctors and Lion's Club, with support from WHO, organized a meeting for parents to address any concerns about vaccines. It also gave physicians the chance to share evidence-based information on vaccine safety, effectiveness and contraindications.

A conference for family doctors held in Hunedoara, Transylvania, provided them with the latest vaccine-related developments, including routine childhood vaccinations and additional immunizations. Lessons for schoolchildren organized in Sadova, Romania, helped children understand the concept and importance of immunization. Outreach on social media will continue throughout the coming week.

Immunize Europe Forum

Information on EIW events planned throughout the Region is available on the new Immunize Europe Forum, launched by WHO/Europe as a platform for year-round information sharing among immunization professionals.

Momentum towards measles and rubella elimination

The European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC) confirmed in October 2015 that 32 of 53 Member States in the European Region had interrupted transmission of endemic measles and/or rubella as of the end of 2014. High immunization coverage (≥ 95%) with 2 doses of vaccine against measles and rubella, and high-quality surveillance to detect cases and monitor chains of virus transmission, were essential to attain this goal.

In addition to commending countries that had achieved this status, the RVC made recommendations to help under-performing countries catch up. Stepped-up efforts are needed to identify and close gaps in surveillance, immunization coverage and annual reporting.

EIW across the Region

EIW is a well-established framework through which to raise awareness about immunization at all levels. EIW coincides each year with World Immunization Week and involves partners, civil society and public health authorities in all Member States. WHO/Europe supports countries to plan and implement activities ranging from youth concerts to ministerial conferences.