Thank you Mr / Madam Chair,
I am speaking on behalf of the 5 Nordic and the 3 Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.
We appreciate this opportunity to be informed of the progress on the global vaccine action plan.
The assessment report reveals that still five critical goals, set by the Global Vaccine Action Plan require substantial progress to get on track. 1 in 5 children are still not receiving routine life-saving immunizations. We therefore expect the Director General to give high priority to overcome the obstacles in these areas.
To this end, it is imperative to ensure coordination of immunization with other health services, in particular to ensure sufficient synergy with other national primary health care programmes. It is important not to miss an opportunity to offer vaccination, when people attend health care premises with other health problems.
As also stressed in the assessment report, health care workers are key in the endeavours if we shall succeed in reaching our common goals for the benefit of all children. And we as Member States have to take our responsibility to ensure that all relevant information are shared and fully known by health care workers. It is equally important that health care workers fully understand the benefits as well as the risks of immunization, and that they know what does, and what does not, contraindicate vaccination in order that vaccination is not avoided unnecessarily.
Also in our part of the world we have problems with not-evidence based information about possible risks by vaccination. Such undocumented warnings of risks can often become persistent myths with the potential to cause unintentional risks for the individual child and obstacles for optimal immunization coverage in general.
It is therefore key, that families, the society as a whole, and not least health care givers act in coherence with WHO as well as national recommendations, and consequently act in consistency with evidence based knowledge.