Despite the proven safety and efficacy of vaccines, countries from the EU/EEA as well as from around the globe continue to see outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases due to insufficient vaccination coverage rates.
Regardless of the overall good performance of the EU/EEA immunisation programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tremendous efforts to make those happen, there are significant vaccination gaps and disparities between vaccination coverage among different countries and regions.
While the Measles Annual Epidemiological Report shows a 99 per cent decrease in cases in 2022 compared with 2018, this was likely due to the prevention and control measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Data show that infants below one year of age remain the group with the highest incidence of measles, as they are too young to be vaccinated and should therefore be protected by community immunity.
Given the sub-optimal vaccination coverage in several countries, it is likely that we will observe increases in the number of reported cases of measles across the EU/EEA in the future.
European Immunization Week is a key moment to raise awareness of the benefits and importance of vaccination for the general health and well-being of people, throughout their lives. It is also an opportunity to remind everyone that vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Continuous efforts are therefore essential to identify immunity gaps in people of all ages, including those who may have missed or delayed vaccination, especially in hard-to-reach populations such as refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other vulnerable and underserved populations.
Accelerated efforts to improve immunisation campaigns and promote vaccine acceptance and uptake are necessary to achieve and sustain high vaccination coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases. Supporting and strengthening national routine vaccination programmes remains a key priority for ECDC, on the principles of quality, safety, and efficacy of vaccines, as well as timely and equitable access.