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.