As European governments look to reduce spending, vaccine advocates – including some in the World Health Organisation, the European Parliament and European Commission – are pushing to have immunisation programmes protected from cutbacks.
Investment in preventative health measures is less visible than spending on treatments or hospital infrastructure but saves money in the medium and long term, according to several speakers at a debate on health spending, hosted by the Friends of Europe think tank and sponsored by Vaccines Europe.
But with teachers and parents demanding that education spending be ring-fenced, social spending sacrosanct in some countries, and unions and employers seeking job-creating stimulus spending, a robust case for vaccines must be made repeatedly if is to influence policymakers.
The new type of flu which has been reported in China has killed around one fifth of those known to be infected. So far, 129 cases of the H7N9 flu strain have been recorded, with 31 of those people dying from the illness.
Chinese media report that nearly 60% people known to have been infected by the H7N9 virus are aged 60 or older.
Experts at the ESWI EU Flu Summit said it was too soon to tell whether the virus could cause a global flu pandemic. The death rate is a concern, say scientists, but it would appear that the virus is not spreading from person-to-person – a feature which would be required for a full-scale pandemic.
Health authorities in the UK have rolled out a national MMR vaccine catch-up programme targeting children and young teenagers who may have missed out on the vaccine when immunisation rates fell in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
— PublicHealthEngland (@PHE_uk) April 25, 2013
The £20 million immunisation drive will target around 1 million 10 to 14 year olds across the UK.
New tools for parents and health professionals, on-going outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, a renewed push to wipe out polio, and an invitation to be part of the biggest commercial in history – Missed European Immunization Week? Check out our summary, told via Storify.
One of the most frequent questions parents have when discussing vaccines is when to bring their child to be immunised. This question is now easier to answer than ever – even if you are moving from one country to another.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has revamped the vaccine calendars on its website to make it easier to see when vaccinations are due in each of the 30 countries covered by the agency. It is searchable by disease and by age group and regularly updated.
What’s more, the new interactive site which was developed in collaboration with Le Groupe d’Etudes en Preventologie, allows users to compare the vaccine schedules of two countries – a major improvement and something EU Health Ministers called for in June 2011.