European Immunization Week – celebrating the progress and potential of vaccines to support a long life well lived
26 April 2022
Press Release by the WHO Country Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina
This week marks the European Immunization Week (EIW) – an opportune moment to reflect on the importance of vaccination as one of the foundations of a successful public health system. This year highlights crucial achievements of vaccination – including progress towards global eradication of polio and elimination of measles and rubella in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region – as well as the potential to achieve much more, such as control of hepatitis B and elimination of cervical cancer. The hundreds of thousands of lives saved through COVID-19 vaccination in the WHO European Region are another great reason for celebration.
“Vaccines have been indiscriminately saving lives since 1798. Smallpox – how devastating it could be – was the first disease eradicated thanks to vaccination. Vaccinated children no longer need to worry about suffering from devastating diseases that plagued past generations. A “Long Life for All” is not a promise, it is an ambition. Because everyone deserves a chance at a fulfilling life,” said Dr Erwin Cooreman, WHO Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Health services (including immunization) in many countries across the world have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Bosnia and Herzegovina WHO has worked together with health authorities and partners to roll out COVID-19 vaccination, thereby prioritizing the most disadvantaged population groups. This progress is the result of a collaborative effort. EIW is an opportunity to thank all the health and care workers who have worked tirelessly to protect others by making vaccination possible.
This effort will not end until every eligible person is fully protected, in particular the elderly or people more likely to develop severe disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted routine vaccination. Bosnia and Herzegovina has reported a lower vaccination coverage compared to other countries in Europe and this was further aggravated during the pandemic. To protect children and prevent disease outbreaks, it is critical that every child who missed a scheduled vaccination is provided with easy access to catch up needed doses.
The progress made over the past decade by the country in protecting children and adults from life-threatening diseases deserves celebration. Maintaining this progress and ensuring that no one is left behind is a collective duty for obtaining future success.