Austerity: should immunisation be ring-fenced?

Gary Finnegan

Gary Finnegan

May 14th, 2013

Gary Finnegan

‘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.

One of the key challenges in safeguarding immunisation programmes is the lack of champions for vaccine-preventable diseases. Because they are relatively rarely seen, there is no constituency of patients and health professionals knocking on the doors of politicians extolling the virtues of vaccination.

However, a coalition of vaccine advocates is emerging, drawing immunisation supporters from academia, public health authorities, EU policymakers, industry, and non-governmental organisations.

Read our full report on this meeting (pdf)

Check out our infographic on immunisation in times of austerity (pdf)

Take a look at the Friends of Europe debate report