European Immunization Week 2017 draws on the strength of partnerships

European Union/Lieven Creemers

WHO Regional Director for Europe Zsuzsanna Jakab and European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis

This year’s European Immunization Week (EIW) showed record levels of collaborative activities – drawing in parents and children, and print, broadcast and social media, as well as the more traditional public health institute and government-led activities. The 2017 campaign focused on raising awareness of the benefits of vaccines at every stage of life. From teddy bears to flash mobs, from Ireland to Tajikistan, the WHO European Region joined together to celebrate the health gains achieved through immunization and to build understanding of its role in protecting health beyond the childhood years.

High-level engagement

Launching the week at the regional level, WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab teamed up with Dr Vytenis Andruitaiktis, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety to issue a joint statement under the title “Vaccination – we must not take the benefits for granted”. This statement highlighted the importance of dispelling false rumours about vaccines in order to maintain high population demand. In addition, Dr Jakab visited Romania for a high-level intersectoral event, lending her support to government efforts to stop the large measles outbreak and improve immunization coverage.

WHO/Europe’s Patron, HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark also issued a video statement in which she emphasized the important contribution vaccination has made to good health in the European Region and its vital role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Across the Region, WHO country offices and technical experts teamed up with several national public health institutions and ministries of health, education and finance to promote stronger commitment to immunization targets.

Country-level activities

The scope of events and diversity of participants engaged in EIW this year illustrate that promoting the benefits of immunization is a whole-of-society responsibility. An overview of the many activities and materials developed is provided in the EIW 2017 narrative report.