Concerned about the increase in outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe and across the world, PACE today called on member States to give high priority to the prevention of the resurgence of contagious diseases and “to develop comprehensive, forward-looking, pro-active and human rights-compliant vaccination strategies”.
According to the parliamentarians, vaccinations largely prevent sickness and death associated with infectious diseases both for the individual vaccinated and for society as a whole, by means of developing “herd immunity”. “High and equitable vaccine uptake also generates wider health, social, political, and economic benefits and is crucial in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” the parliamentarians said.
In a resolution, adopted on the basis of the report by Carmen Leyte (Spain, EPP/CD), PACE called on States to ensure “that quality vaccination services are available and accessible to all people”, which includes provision of adequate vaccine supplies, free vaccination for all, and better follow up from the health care system. “Close co-operation between member States is essential to ensure equitable access to and uptake of vaccines on the international level,” the parliamentarians said.
The adopted text underlines that mandatory vaccination should only be considered as a last resort “when this is necessary in order to fulfil a legitimate aim, is provided for by law, and is proportionate”; and that its introduction should be subject to public debate, parliamentary scrutiny and judicial oversight.
PACE also called on member States to tackle anti-vaccination attitudes through systematic and scientifically based counter-narratives, and transparent communication on the safety and quality control of vaccines, and benefits of vaccination, while putting in place policies and regulations to address misinformation.