The European Commission and World Health Organization (WHO) are jointly hosting the world’s first Global Vaccination Summit to draw attention to the benefits of vaccines.
The summit, which takes place today in Brussels, is designed to stimulate action worldwide to combat the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation; raise awareness globally of the benefits of vaccines; and promote social and political measures to arrest the spread of diseases which are preventable with widespread vaccination. In the last three years seven countries worldwide have lost their ‘measles elimination’ status, four of which have been EU Member States; and 2019 has seen the highest number of reported measles cases globally since 2006.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said: “It is inexcusable that in a world as developed as ours, there are still children dying of diseases that should have been eradicated long ago. Worse, we have the solution in our hands but it is not being put to full use. Vaccination already prevents two to three million deaths a year and could prevent a further 1.5 million if global vaccination coverage improved. Today’s summit is an opportunity to address this gap. The Commission will continue to work with the EU’s Member States in their national efforts and with our partners here today. This is a global challenge we must tackle together, and now.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, said: “After many years of progress, we are at a critical turning point. Measles is resurging, and one in 10 children continues to miss out on essential childhood vaccines. We can and must get back on track. We will only do this by ensuring everyone can benefit from the power of vaccines – and if governments and partners invest in immunisation as a right for all, and a social good. Now is the time to step up efforts to support vaccination as a core part of health for all.”