Experts at the Global Vaccination Summit on Thursday in Brussels said that falling vaccination rates are a threat to children’s lives in a number of countries.
“Children are dying of preventable diseases,’’ Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
Outgoing European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the international community should work together to counter the spread of false information about vaccines and to dispel scepticism.
Measles infections in Europe have surged to around 90,000 cases in the first half of 2019, more than all of last year, according to the WHO.
Four countries – Albania, Britain, Greece and the Czech Republic – have lost their measles-free status.
WHO has warned that Europe is falling behind in its efforts to eradicate the preventable but potentially dangerous virus.
“If you see the epidemiological picture and you have no chance to achieve a rapid rate of coverage of vaccination, you should make it mandatory,’’ European Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, said.
“Scientifically, it is absolutely valid,’’ he said.
“If parents don’t understand … who is responsible, we have to ask ourselves who is responsible.
“Of course, parliament is responsible, of course, the government is responsible.’’
European case numbers multiplied in recent years from 5,000 in 2016 to 26,000 in 2017 and to 84,000 in 2018.
The WHO links the current rise with countries’ failure to achieve blanket immunisation across their territories.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde