European Immunization Week (EIW) promotes the core message that immunization of every child is vital to prevent diseases and protect life. The slogan for the week is Prevent. Protect. Immunize.
- The goal of EIW is to increase vaccination coverage by raising awareness of the importance of immunization among parents and caregivers, health care professionals, policy and decision-makers, and the media.
Why is EIW important?
The widespread implementation of immunization programmes over the past 30 years has led to a dramatic reduction in illness and death due to vaccine-preventable diseases.
However, more needs to be done. Ironically, the fact that immunization has made many infectious diseases rare or almost unheard of can lead to the opinion among parents and health professionals that vaccines are no longer necessary. This can make public confidence in vaccines susceptible to the influence of anti-vaccination groups and websites.
Strong political support for immunization must be maintained. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and this public health success story must be sustained.
By acknowledging that every child deserves a healthy start in life, countries can use the momentum of European Immunization Week to increase awareness of the importance of immunization and to strengthen their immunization systems.
Vaccination protects health
Vaccination protects health at every stage of life:
- Every child deserves an equal opportunity to lead a healthy life, and vaccination is one of the vital first steps to achieving this
- Children below 5 years of age are at special risk of developing serious complications or even dying from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccines given according to each country’s routine immunization schedule provide the best possible protection for children when they need it most
- By blocking the further spread of diseases, vaccinated children help shield those around them. This includes siblings too young to be vaccinated, classmates with special health conditions and elderly grandparents
- Adolescence is also the time to catch up on any vaccines against diseases that are dangerous at any age, including measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and meningitis
More information on European Immunization Week.