Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Finland joins European action on vaccination

05 Sep 2018, 03:34 ( 7 Months ago) | updated: 05 Sep 2018, 11:59 ( 7 Months ago)

DF Report
File Photo Xinhua.

Finland has joined in a new, extensive European project aimed at increasing vaccination coverage among the population.

The European Joint Action on Vaccination was launched in Paris on Tuesday. The three-year (2018-2021) project is the next step in the EU efforts to improve immunisation and vaccination coverage in Europe, said an official press release.

The Joint Action aims to strengthen the European cooperation in the field and develop practical tools for the use of health authorities and healthcare professionals in different countries to enhance the vaccination coverage.  

The total budget of the Joint Action is EUR 5.8 million. It is co-funded by the EU Health Programme (EUR 3.5 million). Seventeen EU Member States as well as Norway, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are participating in the project.

According to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines save up to three million lives every year. Vaccination coverage has remained below WHO targets in many European countries. Therefore, many highly contagious diseases, such as measles, have started to spread again in Europe.

“Epidemics cross the national boundaries. Therefore, European cooperation in the prevention of contagious diseases is extremely important,” said Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Päivi Sillanaukee.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is involved in the Joint Action. THL is responsible for coordinating the work related to vaccination confidence and vaccination hesitancy together with the Italian National Institute of Health. In addition, THL participates in the implementation of several other sub-projects.

“Enhancing confidence and trust in vaccination and highlighting the collective and individual health benefits of vaccination are important tasks for the healthcare sector and even society at large. We must seize the initiative,” said THL Department of Health Security Director Mika Salminen.

Besides confidence in vaccination, the project aims to improve coordination on vaccine procurement between countries, support research and innovation in the field, and strengthen EU’s internal coordination in the prevention of contagious diseases.

Other partners in the project are WHO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Medicines Agency (EMA) and several organisations and universities.