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EFA attended the 1st Global Vaccination Summit, held in Brussels on 12th September. The summit was a joint organisational effort of the European Commission and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The aim of the event was to give high-level visibility and political endorsement to vaccine-related actions, and also to offer a strong and realistic vision for future commitments. The agenda of the summit can be found here.

High-level participants representing international organisations and institutions

The summit attracted the participation of high-level participants, such as the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Director-General of WHO Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

Fighting misinformation on vaccination highly important task

Opening the discussions, the outgoing Commission president put emphasis on the importance of fighting misinformation campaigns which help build mistrust and hesitancy among the society. He highlighted the need to advance prevention and access to healthcare in a collective, non-discriminatory way.

Vaccines as cornerstone of public health, no need for hesitancy

WHO Director-General Dr Ghebreyesus applauded the success of vaccines as a cornerstone of public health. He further outlined WHO’s priorities to ensure political commitment, innovation, partnerships and investment. EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis addressed a call for action against vaccine hesitancy through a multi-sectoral and inclusive approach.

Vaccination crucial for disease management

EFA emphasizes the need for better access to vaccines in light of frequent co-morbidities. Vaccination is crucial for asthma and COPD management as it protects against the flu and flu-originated diseases like pneumonia (Pneumococcus vaccination) - a condition that is particularly serious for people living with a chronic respiratory disease.

But equally important is targeted information on vaccines for high risk groups and that includes benefits and risks. Only promotion will not work. In our new report "Active Patients Access Care", one recommendation is linked to seasonal vaccination for people with asthma and COPD as a crucial prevention measure.

Central message: “Vaccines Work”

Putting forward the central message “Vaccines work”, the summit concluded several action points to enhance vaccination for all and eliminate vaccine preventable diseases. These include:

  1. Promote global political leadership and commitment to vaccination and build effective collaboration and partnerships - across international, national, regional and local levels with health authorities, health professionals, civil society, communities, scientists, and industry - to protect everyone and everywhere through sustained high vaccination coverage rates.
  2. Tackle the root-causes of vaccine hesitancy, increasing confidence in vaccination, as well as designing and implementing evidence-based interventions.
  3. Harness the power of digital technologies, so as to strengthen the monitoring of the performance of vaccination programmes.
  4. Mitigate the risks of vaccine shortages through improved vaccine availability monitoring, forecasting, purchasing, delivery and stockpiling systems and collaboration with producers and all participants in the distribution chain to make best use of, or increase existing, manufacturing capacity.
  5. Align and integrate vaccination in the global health and development agendas, through a renewed Immunisation agenda 2030.

More information on the outcomes and the actions emerging from the summit can be found here.