Governments must invest in immunizing the most vulnerable children and addressing vaccine hesitancy
Statement by UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan for World Immunization Week
GENEVA, 24 April 2017 - “UNICEF is urging governments in Europe and Central Asia to invest in health systems that prioritize reaching the most vulnerable children with life-saving immunizations alongside national campaigns to address the concerning trend of growing vaccine hesitancy.”
“Immunization is one of the most significant and cost-effective public health achievements in modern times. Vaccines save children’s lives and stop the spread of diseases.
“Sustainable immunization coverage is only possible through well-functioning health systems that reach all children, including children from minority communities, those living in poverty or children uprooted from their homes. Coverage must be monitored so breakdowns in availability and services are rapidly identified and addressed.
“Demand from caregivers and communities equipped with the knowledge to overcome misconceptions and protect their children is equally critical. Misinformation on vaccines has grave implications. Governments must closely monitor public perceptions, counteract misinformation and promote the benefits of immunization.
“Measles outbreaks and pockets of unacceptably low vaccination rates are stark reminders that achieving universal routine immunization coverage must be a priority for governments, communities and caregivers.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/eca.