This year, 20-26 April is European Immunization Week (EIW). Historically, EIW celebrates and highlights the importance of immunisation and vaccinations for healthcare and the prevention of disease.
First begun in 2005, a small number of countries joined EIW to promote essential vaccines in Europe, with the goal of protecting every child against vaccine-preventable diseases such as HPV, measles, and tetanus. In the last 15 years, EIW has become a very prominent campaign in European healthcare, with all countries invited to take part in the week’s events, including debates, meetings, conferences, and TV programmes.
Each year, EIW follows a specific theme, coinciding with World Immunisation Week, as well as the WHO designated World Health Day theme for that year. Previous years have seen focuses such as “Vaccine Heroes” (2019) and “Close the immunisation Gap” (2016).
The 2020 theme for EIW is in line with the WHO 2020 message: Support Nurses and Midwives.
EIW will especially centre on the role nurses and midwives play administering life-saving vaccines to children and adults worldwide. It is well known that vaccines are key in modern healthcare to eradicating preventable diseases, reducing health inequality, and providing a strong base for health through life. Nurses and midwives work constantly to provide accurate and digestible information about vaccines to families, children, and adults. Right now, when online misinformation is affecting many people’s decisions on whether to vaccinate their children or not, nurses and medical professionals are a source of information people can trust. In Britain, nurses and doctors are amongst the most trusted professions, according to this survey. Advocating for worldwide vaccination prevents illness, unnecessary strain on healthcare services, and death.
Louise Hegested from Denmark shares her experience of cervical cancer and why she urges people to get protected against HPV.
At NOMAN we champion worldwide gender-neutral HPV vaccination.
HPV is the causal agent of 5% of all cancers worldwide, causing over 600,000 new cancer cases every year. These include cervical, anal, oral, penile, and other cancers, which affect both men and women. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can prevent up to 90% of these cancer cases. A key message of European Immunisation Week is that everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including access to vaccination. At a time where we have effective prevention for deaths caused by HPV, it is essential that this vaccine, as well as others, is available to everyone.
So, this European Immunisation Week, we put forward the message that access to essential vaccines worldwide will prevent disease, including cancer, and protect overall health worldwide. As some of the key administers of the HPV vaccine, especially in our schools here in the UK, we are thanking and supporting nurses, and midwives, and recognising their amazing contribution to global health. Nobody should die from a vaccine-preventable disease.