Media advisory: European Immunization Week 2012

All countries of the WHO European Region take part in 2012 initiative

The WHO European Region marks the seventh European Immunization Week (EIW) from 21 to 27 April 2012. For the first time since its inception, EIW will have the support and participation of all 53 countries of the Region.

Many country-based initiatives, plus regional activities including a Twitter chat on immunization and guest bloggers on the EIW campaign site, will focus attention on three areas:

  • the vital role frontline health workers play in the success of national immunization programmes;
  • the continuing need to control measles outbreaks and prevent further measles cases in the European Region, as it works towards the 2015 elimination goal; and
  • the 10 year anniversary of the European Region receiving certification of polio-free status and continuing efforts to keep the Region polio-free.

European Immunization Week began with only six pilot countries. But the strength of its message and the importance of its objectives have helped it become a truly Region-wide initiative in a short period of time. The participation of every country of the WHO European Region establishes EIW as one of the most visible and widespread health initiatives in Europe and central Asia.

Participating countries are organizing national immunization activities and events to mark the week, often with support from WHO country offices. The WHO Regional Office for Europe also engages partners such as UNICEF and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the initiative.

The following list provides a sample of some of the activities that will take place in participating countries during the week:

  • Azerbaijan – polio supplementary immunization activities
  • Belarus – a competition to produce the best leaflet on “The Role of Vaccination”
  • Cyprus – lectures for students, parents and pregnant women on the value of immunization
  • Finland – a quiz on vaccines posted on the Facebook page of the National Institute for Health and Welfare
  • Ireland – the release of a report from the National Immunization Office on the successes of, and challenges still facing, the national immunization programme
  • Lithuania – an exhibit focused on immunity and vaccination as part of the country’s  Health Days 2012 event
  • Malta – MMR second-dose immunization campaign targeting children in grade 4
  • Sweden – a one-day course on childhood vaccination for school health care personnel, organized by the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control
  • Tajikistan – national TV and radio public service announcements on immunization
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – immunization campaigns in rural areas; a musical event in Skopje’s central park to celebrate EIW

If you would like more information about these EIW activities and events in other countries, please contact Chelsea Hedquist at or +45 3917 1497.

This year, EIW will take place simultaneously with immunization weeks in all other WHO Regions of the world, making 2012 the inaugural year for World Immunization Week.

#immunizeEurope Twitter chat

As part of its EIW 2012 regional activities, the WHO Regional Office for Europe will host a live Twitter chat on immunization, during which experts from WHO and other organizations will be available to answer questions. The chat will take place on Thursday 26 April 2012, from 14:00-15:00 UTC/GMT (16:00-17:00 CEST/Copenhagen time). Topics for discussion include: the vital role of frontline health workers, measles eradication in Europe and maintaining the WHO European Region’s polio-free status.

To join the chat, please send questions in the form of tweets to @WHO_Europe, using the hashtag #immunizeEurope.  For more details, please see:

EIW online activities

Throughout the week of 21-27 April 2012, the EIW campaign site will feature a “Week of Guest Bloggers.” The schedule of guest bloggers includes representatives from a number of WHO partners, such as ECDC, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GAVI Alliance and the Measles Initiative. Other guest bloggers will include pro-immunization parents, immunization experts and representatives from other successful immunization awareness campaigns around the world.

Visit the EIW campaign site to read guest blogs throughout the week of EIW:

Resources for health care workers

The Regional Office has also recently launched an online immunization resource centre, which includes job aids that health care workers can download and use in their everyday interactions with patients. These can be accessed at: