Finland participates in a new, extensive European project aiming to increase vaccination coverage among the population. The European Joint Action on Vaccination, expanding over a period of three years, is the next step in EU efforts to improve immunisation and vaccination coverage in Europe.
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 vaccination coverage. The Joint Action was launched in Paris on 4 September.
The total budget of the Joint Action is EUR 5.8 million in 2018– 2021, and 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 participate in the project.
According to the estimates by 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 already for a longer time. 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 conta-gious diseases is extremely important," says
Päivi Sillanaukee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
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," says
Mika Salminen, Director of the Department of Health Security at the National Institute for Health and Welfare.
Besides confidence in vaccination, the project aims to improve coordination on vaccine procurement be-tween 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 include WHO, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Medicines Agency (EMA) and several organisations and universities.
Mika Salminen, Director, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 8454, [email protected]
Anni-Riitta Virolainen-Julkunen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63324, [email protected]
Jonas Sivelä, Senior Researcher, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 7084, [email protected]