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Europe challenged to tackle vaccine uptake

Thursday April 19th, 2018

European countries need to tackle the problem of families that reject the use of vaccines – and the need for action is immediate in the light of recent measles outbreaks, senior doctors have warned.

The problem has recently been highlighted by the European Commission, which has warned of a “serious problem” with vaccination coverage across the EU.

Now a joint report from two medical organisations, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council and the Federation of European Academies of Medicine, calls for “urgent” action.

It also warns against a “one size fits all” attempt to tackle low vaccine uptake – given the multiple reasons that lead to reluctant to take the treatments.

The academics say the EC is “rather vague” about the challenges surrounding the research and development of new and existing vaccines.

Professor Jos van der Meer, a past president of the EASAC, said: “The four-fold increase in measles in Europe from 2016 to 2017 is alarming, and European policy-makers must take immediate action.

“While the current roadmap is a good starting point, we need to ensure that the reasons for low and decreasing vaccine uptake in EU member states are fully understood and that tailor-made approaches for each situation are developed.

“A one-size-fits-all solution for vaccines across the EU may lead to a continued increase in measles and other diseases that affect public health.”

FEAM president-elect Professor George Griffin called for a European vaccination card and registry.

He said: “The declining uptake of vaccination in young children in Europe and elsewhere in the world is in part due to growing numbers of individuals who choose not to vaccinate themselves or their children.

“We need to guard against the spread of misinformation and extremist anti-vaccination groups who may influence those who are on the fence regarding vaccination, negatively affecting public health in the process.”

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals

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