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Vaccines and Immunization

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Childhood vaccination: Neglected tool to counter measles outbreaks?

Over 22,000 people were infected with measles across the EU in 2014 and 2015, including one measles-related death. The only effective preventive measure against measles remains vaccination. The recent outbreaks suggest a growing number of susceptible people are not being vaccinated. The reasons for this are varied, including a growing number of parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children and increasing barriers of access to vaccination. To avoid further such outbreaks, it is thus (...)

AMR’s multiple dimensions call for action on all fronts

The June Uppsala Health Summit (UHS), ‘A World Without Antibiotics’ expanded the discussion about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) at European and national level by examining this critical health threat from different angles. Among the key themes discussed were access to antibiotics and to improved diagnostics, the environmental dimension of AMR, collaborative research & innovation, and economic models allowing pharma companies to balance profits and investments for the public (...)

WHA adopts resolutions on AMR and immunization

On 25 May 2015, the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA) - the supreme decision-making body of WHO which convenes annually in Geneva - agreed resolutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance and improve access to affordable vaccines. Tackling antimicrobial drug resistance The global importance and seriousness of AMR was highlighted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told delegates on the opening day that addressing AMR is one of the highest health priorities for the world. Following a (...)

Joint Procurement of medical countermeasures: A Solidarity Tool?

On 29 April 2015, Public Health England organised a workshop for the European Commission in Luxembourg on the joint procurement of medical countermeasures, which featured a host of speakers from different Commission Directorate Generals, EMA, ECDC, WHO, and industry. One of the key messages was that the new Joint Procurement Agreement (JPA) tool is potentially available for many different countermeasures as long as they fall into the legal framework of serious cross-border health threats. (...)

Council conclusions on vaccinations as an effective tool in public health

On 1 December 2014, the Council of Health Ministers released its conclusions regarding vaccinations as an effective tool in public health. They invite national governments and the European Commission (EC) to increase information exchanges with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus on risk groups, and convey informed and clear messages on vaccination. The EPSCO conclusions adopted under the Italian Presidency - which (...)

[Press release] European Antibiotic Awareness Day: Fighting ‘superbugs’ to save lives

Brussels, 18 November – Today marks the 7th European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) (1) which promotes a more prudent use of antibiotics to tackle the growing challenge of multi-drug resistant ‘superbugs’ (2). Around 25,000 patients die every year in the European Union (EU) as a result of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance will lead to significant health service savings since related costs amount to (...)

5th ESWI Influenza Conference highlights benefits of vaccination

The fifth international influenza conference organised by EPHA member the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI) took place in Riga on 14-17 September. A number of plenary and ’science/policy interface’ sessions examined the issue of low vaccination uptake in many Member States, as well as other issues related to pandemic preparedness and communication aspects of influenza-related health threats. In the opening plenary, ’Why should influenza be a public (...)

Public Health priorities of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union outlined its priorities and main events in the field of public health to the Working Party on Public Health. Despite not managing a legislative dossier for which the group would be competent, developments in the pipeline are relevant for civil society engagement. Inspired by the Third Union Programme for Action in the field of health (2014-2020), EU Health Strategy, World Health Organization reports, reflection processes on (...)

Medicines shortages in Europe: A disconcerting operational and communication challenge

The issue of medicine supply shortages has been highlighted by EPHA and its members throughout 2013, and it once again took centre stage at a recent workshop organised by the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists (EAHP). Already in winter, a common position on the issue has been drafted by members of the European Medicine Agency’s Patients’ and Consumers’ / Healthcare Professionals Working Party. 2014 EAHP Congress, Barcelona The 19th annual EAHP (...)

Keeping Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on the radar screen, year-round

The global problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) demands the continuous attention of the public health community beyond the annual focus of the European Antibiotic Awareness Day (marked annually on 18 November). EPHA is committed to raising awareness of AMR-related concerns, including the reduction of antibiotics use, to ensure that people living in Europe can continue to benefit from life-saving antibiotics. Moreover, it is important to promote policy coherence, as well as effective, (...)