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Vaccines: MEPs approve a non-binding resolution on vaccine hesitancy and the drop in vaccination rates in EU

Yesterday, 19 April, the European Parliament adopted an important non-binding resolution on vaccine hesitancy and the drop of vaccination rates in Europe, during the plenary session in Strasbourg. 

Warning public confidence in vaccination is a major challenge that is already affecting health, Parliament said on Thursday.

Epidemiological data show significant gaps in vaccines being accepted and coverage rates that are too low to ensure the public is properly protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, MEPs note with concern in a resolution voted on Thursday.

Widespread and growing vaccine hesitancy is already having consequences such as avoidable measles outbreaks in a number of countries, they add. 

MEPs point out that vaccines are rigorously tested in multiple-stage trials and are regularly reassessed.  They also welcome the forthcoming launch of a Joint Action, co-funded by the EU Health Programme, to boost the number of people who have been vaccinated. They also urge the European Commission step up its support for national vaccination efforts.

MEPs advocate strengthening the EU legal basis for immunisation coverage, and call on the EU Commission to facilitate a more harmonised and better-aligned schedule for vaccination across the EU.  

Restore confidence through greater transparency

MEPs call for greater transparency in the production and evaluation of vaccines and their adjuvants, in the funding of independent research programmes and about the possible side-effects of vaccines, so as to help restore trust in vaccination.

They also point out that researchers must declare any conflict of interests and say that those who have them should be excluded from evaluation panels. The confidentiality of the deliberations of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) evaluation panel should also be lifted, and scientific and clinical data be made public, they add.

MEPs also advocate opening a factual and science-based dialogue with civil society, in order to combat unreliable, misleading and unscientific information on vaccination.

Read more: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180412IPR01612/meps-highlight-health-risks-of-falling-vaccination-rates-in-the-eu

Read the full adopted text: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+TA+P8-TA-2018-0188+0+DOC+PDF+V0//EN