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EU Rallies For Coordinated Vaccine Push Against Measles And Other Diseases

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The European Commission (EU) has urged its member states last Thursday to actively cooperate in fighting diseases such as measles and flu. The EU stands by their statement that vaccines against these diseases are among the most powerful and cost-effective public health measures.

Health and food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said that all European Union member states need to create, develop, and implement national or regional plans for vaccine by the time 2020 rolls around. These plans should include a target of at least 95 percent coverage for measles, Reuters reports.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released data that shows several EU countries are facing an unusual number of measles outbreaks. This is a cause for alarm because measles is a highly contagious disease that can kill the person afflicted. The ECDC has issued a warning about resurgence of other vaccine-preventable diseases because of poor vaccination coverage.

According to Andriukaitis,

Infectious diseases are not confined within national borders. One member state’s immunization weakness puts the health and security of citizens at risk across the EU. Cooperating in this area is in all of our interests.

In line with this, the Commission also wants to establish routine checks of vaccination status and provide regular opportunities for older age groups to get immunizations in schools and workplaces. Another proposal they want to push is building a European vaccination information portal to provide objective, transparent, and updated evidence online about the benefits and safety of vaccines.

The proposals are set for discussion soon, with representatives from the 28 member states and the Commission. They want to make sure that these proposals are adopted as law by the end of this year with immediate enforcement.

More data from ECDC shows that in the 12 months from March 2017 to February 2018, more than 14,800 measles cases were reported through the European surveillance system. The organization estimates that at least 40,000 Europeans die from flu every year, partly due to low vaccine coverage.

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