European Immunization Week 2009 goes online

Copenhagen, 22 April 2009

The WHO Regional Office for Europe invites the media to play an active role in promoting the new European Immunization Week (EIW) campaign site and the video, which is launched on 22 April 2009.

For its fourth EIW, 20–26 April 2009, the World Health Organization Office for Europe is mobilizing Internet-based techniques and social media to advocate for immunization across Europe. The initiative, launched in 36 countries, is spearheaded by an animated YouTube video that aims to spread the EIW message by word of mouth online as well as direct traffic to an informative website. Social networking sites Facebook, VKontakte and Studivz are being used to reinforce the message.

This comes at a time when immunization programmes in the WHO European Member States are facing new challenges. The effectiveness of vaccination in reducing the incidence of what were once common scourges has led to public misapprehension with regard to vaccines. A combination of complacency and scepticism has allowed for the persistent propagation of misinformation, facilitated by online discussion fora and blogs.

Meanwhile, last year, 423 000 children in Europe remained unvaccinated for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus (DTP vaccine). In the case of measles, 633 000 children did not get their first dose of vaccine and there is approximately one new measles case every hour.

If an unvaccinated child comes into contact with infected children in school, there is around a 90% chance the child will fall ill.

For more information contact:

Technical information:

Dr Srdan Matic
HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Scherfigsvej 8, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 39 17 16 06
Fax: +45 39 17 18 75

Press information: 

Ms Liuba Negru
Press and Media Relations
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Scherfigsvej 8, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark
Tel.: +45 39 17 13 44
Fax: +45 39 17 18 80