Marking European Immunization Week from 23-29 April, the World Health Organization (WHO) is working to raise awareness in the Eastern Partnership countries about the importance of vaccination in preventing diseases and protecting life, in the framework of its partnership with the EU in the ‘Vaccination Saves Lives – Supporting the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination in the Eastern Partnership’ project.
Immunization Week this year marks the start of a year-long campaign, together with WHO headquarters, to emphasise the importance of catching up on routine vaccinations, such as polio, measles and smallpox, that may have been delayed or missed due to the pandemic, as well as ensuring that those at highest risk receive COVID-19 booster doses.
The EU and WHO Europe are currently implementing joint programmes in the six countries of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine) in a regional programme that complements ongoing work through global and regional solidarity initiatives, such as the WHO co-led COVAX Facility and the EU vaccine-sharing mechanism, to ensure access to vaccines in these countries.
The programmes address logistical planning and coordination efforts, risk communication and community engagement activities, training of health care workers involved in vaccination campaigns, and support to vaccine supply chain management. This is followed by support for effective vaccination data collection and vaccine roll-out safety monitoring, contributing to an overall strengthening of routine immunization systems.
In Armenia, the project has launched a nationwide Safe Schooling campaign to encourage prevention, early detection, and control of COVID-19 in schools and promotion of vaccination for COVID and other diseases.
In Azerbaijan, WHO and the EU are working with the Health Ministry to update the medical school curriculum by integrating practical sessions and vaccination resources and content in core teaching.
In Belarus, the project has led a social media campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated and protect themselves from severe and potentially long-term impacts of COVID-19.
In Georgia, it worked with faith leaders to encourage the uptake of COVID-19 and routine vaccinations in their communities.
In Moldova, the WHO and EU have mobilised football players in a vaccination campaign to ensure that no one should suffer or die from a vaccine-preventable disease.
And in Ukraine, the EU funded a fleet of 59 buses for immunization drives. Each bus has wheelchair access, allowing older people to get on board easily, ensuring they get essential vaccines.
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This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a B&S Europe-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.