Who's European director says vaccination goals attainable

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe recently said that she remains confident that Europe is capable of remaining polio free, eliminating measles and rubella, and reducing mortality from other vaccine-treatable diseases.

Zsuzsanna Jakab recently spoke at the opening of a high-level conference on childhood diseases held in Budapest, Hungary, saying that Europe can achieve its goals through joint planning and the implementation of effective preventative measures, according to

In Europe, vaccines and immunizations have supported dramatic improvements in overall health, particularly among children. Jakab said that Europe is on the threshold of eliminating measles and rubella due to the collaborative effort, reports.

Jakab said, however, that despite the overall success, threats remain. She cited high-level population movement, the existence of unimmunized groups with limited access to healthcare services and a continuing decline in the acceptance of vaccines among populations. She also pointed to recent and continuing measles outbreaks and the reemergence of polio.

European Immunization Week begins on April 23. WHO/Europe will coordinate the initiative, which promises to raise awareness about the lack of access to both traditional and new vaccines and to highlight the benefits of vaccination.

The government of Hungary supported the conference on childhood immunizations in Budapest as part of its activities as president of the Council of the European Union. The conference was organized by the Hungarian presidency, the European Commission, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and WHO/Europe.