30 April 2019

European Immunization Week

From 24 to 30 April 2019 at the initiative of the World Health Organization in the countries of the European Region, including our Republic, the European Immunization Week (hereinafter - EIW) will be held for the 14th time.

In 2019 the EIW is dedicated to “vaccination heroes” – people who contribute to the work of providing protection for the lives of both adults and children. “Vaccination heroes” are both medical workers who vaccinate, parents who decide to vaccinate their children, and all people who are interested in this issue and disseminate scientifically-based information to raise public awareness.

The main purpose of the EIW is to raise public awareness about the importance of full immunization for the health and well-being of people throughout their lives, about available protection against infectious diseases with vaccines, about the importance of immunizing all family members, both for their own protection and for those around them.

Every year, when the EIW is conducted in the healthcare institutions, the city’s vaccination center hotline telephone services are organized, specialists are consulted (pediatricians, general practitioners, neurologists, epidemiologists, etc.), individual and group meetings are held with the population on immunization issues, posted informational and educational materials.

The implementation of information activities within the framework of the EIW is aimed at raising the level of public awareness about the need to protect against infectious diseases, the benefits of vaccination, the right of every person to be protected from infectious diseases, preventable with the help of vaccines.

Today, using vaccinations, you can reliably protect yourself against many infectious diseases: measles, rubella, epidemic parotitis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, viral hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis, tuberculosis, HPV infection, rabies, hemophilus , pneumococcal infection etc.

The National Preventive Vaccination Calendar of the Republic of Belarus, funded by the state, provides for vaccine prevention of 12 infectious diseases – tuberculosis, viral hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hemophilic and pneumococcal infections, measles, epidemic parotitis, rubella, influenza. In addition, vaccinations are carried out for epidemic indications against 18 infections (professional groups; living in the areas with a high incidence of natural focal infections; contact in the focus of infections; travelling to the countries with disadvantages on yellow fever, etc.).

Currently, at the request of citizens, vaccination against infections that are not in the National Calendar can be carried out at their own expense in the healthcare organizations.

For several years in Minsk, the coverage of vaccination against infectious diseases in the prescribed ages of children and adults corresponds to the indicators recommended by the World Health Organization. An optimal immune layer formed among the population allows you to maintain a healthy epidemiological situation regarding vaccine-controlled infections. At the same time, persons not vaccinated against infectious diseases for various reasons, also because of failures, have a high risk of developing the disease when meeting with the pathogen. Therefore, within the framework of the EIW, individual and group events will be held with persons refusing to vaccinate themselves and their children.

Prophylactic vaccinations have achieved significant success worldwide in the prevention of a number of infectious diseases: smallpox has been eradicated, cases of paralytic poliomyelitis in recent years have been reported only in three countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria), there has been a significant decrease in rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, measles and other infections prevented by immunization.

In 2018 there were no cases of rubella, mumps, poliomyelitis (since 2002, the Republic of Belarus has been included in the list of countries free of poliomyelitis), diphtheria, and tetanus. Considering that in 2018 in 53 countries of the European Region, measles incidence was recorded (in Ukraine, Serbia, France, Italy, Georgia, Greece, etc.) the infection was carried to Minsk. In total, 13 cases were registered, import occurred from Ukraine, Greece, Germany.

Despite the development of health systems, the emergence of new means and methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, the existence of infectious diseases is inevitable. The spread of infections will be facilitated by armed conflicts, economic crises, global migration processes, climate change, etc. Therefore, the creation and improvement of vaccines against infectious diseases is one of the main directions of development.

To date, vaccines against the causative agent of peptic ulcer (Helicobacter pylori), fungal diseases (Candida genus fungi), herpes viruses and human papillomas, HIV infection are being developed.

In several countries, a new vaccine against dengue fever has been licensed, and in some countries testing of the first vaccine to protect children from malaria has begun.

Everyone has the opportunity to protect himself against vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination is an investment in health, quality of life and well-being throughout life.