Let’s protect all children from measles, mumps and rubella!
Vaccines protect children’s health and futures
PODGORICA, 29 April 2022 – UNICEF, the EU Delegation to Montenegro and the WHO have joined the Ministry of Health and the Institute for Public Health in a national call to parents to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases that can hinder children's health and development.
As the world marks World Immunization Week, latest estimates show that there are around 15,000 children of preschool age in Montenegro who are not protected against measles, mumps and rubella.
While we are concerned about the country's lowest routine vaccination rates in recent history, we also want to acknowledge and celebrate Montenegro's immunization champions, like the Municipality of Mojkovac, where health workers and the community have succeeded in protecting all children in the municipality against measles, mumps and rubella. UNICEF is committed to supporting all national efforts in routine immunization, as we know that vaccines protect children’s health and futures, and ensure a long life for all.
In the past two decades, more than 1.1 billion children have been immunized over the world; saving 4–5 million lives every year. Currently there are safe and effective vaccines for more than 25 diseases. In fact, in the 220 years since their invention, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical innovation in history.
We are marking this week – European Immunization Week – together with our partners, the WHO and UNICEF, and I see it as a yet another opportunity to highlight the importance of immunization. Infectious diseases and their causes do not know any borders. We are calling upon everyone to get vaccinated and avoid the situation in which we will need to fight infectious diseases that have been eradicated. It is of the utmost importance that routine immunization of children is done as per the immunization schedule, and that vaccination is not postponed. I am taking this opportunity to call all parents to schedule their child’s vaccination with their paediatrician or family doctor.
UNICEF and the EU Delegation to Montenegro are supporting the Ministry of Health in national efforts to increase routine immunization rates and protect all children against infectious diseases.
It is inexcusable that, in a world as developed as ours, children can still die from diseases that should have been eradicated long ago. Even worse, we have the solution in our hands, but it is not being put to full use. Vaccination is one of the greatest successes of science and public health, which saves millions of lives each year. I urge all parents in Montenegro to trust science and protect their children from preventable diseases.
Global monitoring data regarding routine immunization shows that many countries are still reporting disruptions in this area due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investment in immunization needs to become a national and strategic priority and it should be a joint effort. In the next few months and years, immunization programmes in Montenegro need to follow the principles of the European immunization agenda, which includes local action, promotion of equal access to vaccines and immunization throughout life. In that way, nobody will be left behind.
Current Montenegrin immunization efforts aimed at strengthening the immunization system and increasing protection of children against measles, mumps and rubella are part of a two-year health initiative being implemented by the national health authorities with support from the EU and UNICEF. The aim of the action is to support the country to deal with the coronavirus pandemic effectively while, at the same time, ensuring that routine immunization happens without any interruptions, so that outbreaks of potentially fatal communicable diseases are prevented.