This week is European Immunisation Week. Immunisation is indeed considered one of the most cost-effective public health interventions available and the WHO estimates that it saves between 2 to 3 million lives every year. Vaccines has however become victims of their own success, and with the drop-down and disappearance of several diseases thanks to vaccination programmes many people who no longer see public health risks decide not to vaccinate. Over the past years, this has resulted in several severe outbreaks in European countries of vaccine preventable diseases putting avertable strains on health and healthcare systems. According to the WHO, “2013 saw 31865 measles cases alone in Europe, an increase of 348% compared to 2007. The cost of these outbreaks in both human and monetary terms is extremely high”.There is certainly the need for renewed political and professional commitment to implement effective immunisation programmes and ensure that countries can provide a maximum level of protection to their citizens across all age and social groups, maximising the use of resources and tools available. Investing in prevention is a value in itself, and besides improving people’s lives it is crucial to freeing resources for other areas of the healthcare sector and to drive medical innovation.
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