EIW 2019 statement – We can all be vaccine heroes
EIW 2019 statement by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
24 April 2019
Every day, vaccines protect the health of millions from life-threatening diseases. Every day, countless people do their part to make this possible and bring the WHO European Region closer to a future free of measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
European Immunization Week (EIW) 2019 celebrates the efforts of individuals to achieve this common goal: the scientists who develop vaccines, the health-care workers who administer them, the policy-makers who work to ensure that each and every child has access to vaccines, and the parents who protect their children by choosing to vaccinate. It takes a collective effort to maintain the necessary herd immunity that keeps us all safe, even those who cannot be vaccinated.
However, not everyone has equitable or easy access to vaccine protection. And some do not fully understand or appreciate its importance, allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread and gaps in immunization coverage to occur. These gaps are gaps in protection, which can broaden and lead to large and threatening outbreaks.
Each one of us plays a role in preventing outbreaks. The benefits of vaccination are proven and backed by science, but they need to be effectively communicated and fully understood. Everyone who seeks evidence-based information about vaccines and passes it on to help inform others is also playing an important role.
EIW will be celebrated throughout the WHO European Region. It is a time to ensure that populations are informed about the benefits of vaccination, and for individuals to demand equitable and accessible immunization programmes. Above all, it is a time to recognize that we can only close existing gaps in protection and ensure that no one is left behind if we work together to immunize the whole of Europe.