Regional Director @hans_kluge talks to Louise, a pediatric nurse.”What would be your message to the people of Europe on getting the vaccine?” #protectedtogether#immunizeEurope#VaccinesWorkhttps://t.co/fNBCanIG2m
— WHO/Europe – VPI (@WHO_Europe_VPI) April 29, 2021
Shaping the pandemic’s course
Although new cases fell significantly last week, for the first time in two months, infection rates across the region remain “extremely high”, according to Dr. Kluge, who noted that individual and collective public health and social measures in most countries, remain “dominant factors in shaping the pandemic’s course”.
Crucially, national governments in the region are slowly but surely vaccinating those most at risk.
‘Clearest path to normal’
He underscored the importance of continuing to share information, engage communities and maintain surveillance, saying otherwise “we can’t identify new variants”.
Every year during European Immunization Week, WHO highlights that for over 200 years, vaccines have protected against life-threatening diseases.
“Today they help protect against more than 20 diseases, from pneumonia to cervical cancer and now also COVID-19”, said Dr. Kluge.
And they are helping to edge populations into a world without the threat of antibiotic resistance.
“The fact that the countries of the European Region on average reached 96% of children scheduled to receive their first dose of measles vaccine in 2019, is testament to the commitment of governments in the Region to eliminate measles”, he said.
“We now need that commitment to vaccinating against the SARS-CoV-2 virus”.
Dr. Kluge recalled that faltering immunization rates in 2019 led to more than 100,000 measles cases, warning that that when routine immunization services are temporarily interrupted – as also witnessed a year ago in European countries hardest hit by the first wave of COVID – infectious disease outbreaks may flare up further down the line.
“Hard-earned success can slip away fast”, he said urging “high immunization coverage with routine vaccines”.
“Ultimately, it is us, the people who receive them, who make them work for the good of all”.
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