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RCP inputs into new EU initiative on vaccines

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has contributed to a second round of consultation by the European Commission to strengthen national action against vaccine preventable diseases across Europe.

In mid-2018, the European Commission is going to adopt a proposal for a 'Council Recommendation on Strengthened Cooperation against Vaccine Preventable Diseases', and has opened a public consultation to collect the views and input of citizens, administrations, associations and other relevant organisations to feed into the process of drafting a proposal for the recommendation.

Discussing the proposal, Paul Belcher, RCP principal advisor, european engagement said: 

Physicians have a key role to play in promoting the use of recommended vaccination as well as overcoming vaccine hesitancy in Europe. The challenge is great. For example, new data published this month by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows that Greece is currently experiencing a measles outbreaks with 968 cases, including two deaths reported since May 2017, and significant emerging outbreaks have been reported in France (77 cases), Sweden (26 cases) and the UK (62 cases). Most cases were unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated say ECDC. We look forward to seeing the final proposal. 

RCP registrar Dr Andrew Goddard, discussing the previous round of consultation, added:

The RCP welcomes the European Commission’s roadmap to strengthen cooperation against vaccine preventable diseases. The UK is a leader in the areas of vaccine research and uptake of vaccination to improve public health and strongly supports initiatives to raise standards in the EU.

Key issues

Among the key issues addressed in the RCP response are:

  • The importance of combatting vaccines hesitancy and distrust of science.
  • Dedicated funding is needed to improve vaccination programmes in national health systems.
  • Member States and industry must collaborate to decrease vaccine shortages. 

The RCP's full response is available on the attached download.