European Immunization Week 2021
‘Vaccines bring us closer’ across the world, organisations and generations
This year, under the theme ‘Vaccines bring us closer’, both the World Immunization Week and European Immunization Week aim to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease, bringing people together, and improving the health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere throughout life.
As major vaccination efforts are taking place across the world, the importance of vaccine research and vaccine trust and confidence are undeniable.
Vaccines are indubitable one of the best tools to improve health and wellbeing around the world. However, vaccine science does not stand alone. Without the trust and engagement of all parts of society, even the most innovative solutions cannot succeed.
It is important to include all walks of society in a genuine conversation, every voice should be listened and allowed to get involved when addressing vaccines and vaccination.
For instance, young people, should not be perceived only as major ‘target group’ for vaccines uptake, but as future adults and parents, advocate professionals and game changers. They have important decisions to make for their health, and most importantly, they listen to one another when it comes to these decisions. The new generation is now taking a proactive stance on a significant issue, which will result in a concrete impact on the society as a whole.
As part of that effort, European Vaccine Initiative and ThinkYoung are collaborating towards creating an inclusive, diverse and dynamic framework for meaningful impact, encouraging people from young ages to become active participants in the global health public agenda.
European Vaccine Initiative is a leading European not-for-profit Product Development Partnership that supports vaccine research and development for people of all ages.
ThinkYoung is a non-profit organization with partners all around the world, that conducts studies and data analysis to provide decision makers with rigorous information and insights on Gen Y, Gen Z and soon Gen ⍺.
In 2017, ThinkYoung conducted a research on Youth Vaccine Perception which was designed to investigate the awareness level of vaccination among young Europeans. Their research revealed that only 65% of the young people interviewed considered the benefits of vaccination to outweigh the risks. This is why in January 2019, ThinkYoung built the Young Coalition for Prevention and Vaccination (YC4PV) composed of young health professionals with more than 20 nationalities, either engaged in healthcare or in health policy.
"As we mark the World and European Immunization Weeks, it is essential to remember the importance of having all generations engaged in immunisation efforts. From childhood to old age, vaccines save lives and help us in protecting each other’s health. Young people, in particular, have an important role to play in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases. Particularly in the context of the current pandemic - as vaccination campaigns open up to younger age groups in the coming months - it is more than necessary that young people have access to the right information and can be part of the conversation”, says Silvia Romeo, Project Manager at ThinkYoung, in charge of the YC4PV initiative.
The YC4PV is taking a proactive stance to advocate the important role of vaccination and prevention across Europe, both at the EU and national level and advocates for a greater engagement of civil society when it comes to sustainable behaviour change.
"Vaccines are one of the most powerful weapons we have against the spread of deadly infectious diseases, but they only work if we use them. Young people have a particular important role to play as advocates and role models in an ever-changing society. Correct and timely information about vaccines must therefore be provided to young people to allow them to form their opinions and views on an informed basis”, says Ole Olesen, Executive Director of EVI.
By partnering and through collaboration, EVI and ThinkYoung will work towards creating positive-disrupting ideas and innovative solutions to bridge the gap between science and stakeholders while creating impactful links to people that otherwise would not be included.
In today’s interconnected world, vaccines bring us closer across the world, organisations and generations.