By Muhammad Auwal
The European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO), had co-hosted the world’s first Global Vaccination Summit in Brussels.
According to information in WHO’s official website, the aim is to accelerate global action to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases, and advocate against the spread of vaccine misinformation worldwide.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said it was inexcusable that in a developed world, there were still children dying of diseases that should had 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 European Union (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,” he said.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, also said that it was necessary to emphasise an integral aspect of improved access to health globally.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Both stakeholders (European and WHO) called for an urgent intensification of efforts to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles.They said that the past three years, seven countries, including four in the European region, had lost their measles elimination status.
“New outbreaks are the direct result of gaps in vaccination coverage, including amongst teenagers and adults who were never fully vaccinated.
“To tackle vaccination gaps effectively, the summit addressed the multiple barriers to vaccination, including rights, regulations and accessibility.
“Also availability, quality and convenience of vaccination services; social and cultural norms, values and support; individual motivation, attitudes, and knowledge and skills,’’ they said.
The European Commission and the World Health Organisation also urged for strong support of GAVI, the Global Vaccine Alliance.
Newsmen reports that GAVI plays a critical role in achieving the global vaccine goals in the world’s least-resourced countries.
“New models and opportunities for stepping up vaccine development are also on the Global Vaccination Summit agenda, as well as ways to ensure that immunisation is a public health priority and a universal right.’’