H.K.H. Kronprinsessen har som protektor for World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, mandag den 20. april 2020 givet et statement.
Europe as well as the rest of the world is going through challenging times that we would have never thought possible just months ago. From my home in Denmark and as Patron of WHO’s Office of the Region of Europe I have watched with great admiration the remarkable efforts of those who have put themselves in the frontline to carry out critical and important functions in our societies.
Health workers are the back bone of our health services. More so than ever. For the past months they have been keeping us and our loved ones safe and have been working to fight this pandemic. We are indebted to all health and social care workers: those working day and night to care for people with COVID-19; and those who are working to keep other essential health care services operating.
When we thank the health workforce, we are thanking all those who are delivering health and social care services – in hospitals and in the communities. Doctors and nurses, midwives, the public health experts tracking and tracing the disease, support workers for disabled and older people, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory workers, the support and administrative staff that keep services going. Their courage, commitment and personal resolve is a beacon of light at a time of hardship and pain for so many across our Region.
As we enter into The European Immunization Week, we all look forward to the day when we can be protected from COVID-19 through a vaccine. But let us also use this week as a reminder of the importance of vaccination which saves millions of lives every year. The distinctive sounds of whooping cough; the stiff neck of tetanus and paralysed legs of polio; these are all are symptoms that today’s healthcare professionals in the WHO European Region will rarely if ever see. The invention of lifesaving vaccines changed the course of history and medicine forever.
European Immunization Week commemorates this change and reminds us all of the importance of vaccination as a vital stepping stone to achieve health for all. We must make use of the vaccines that are available to us now to protect us against dreaded diseases. Failing to do so will increase the immediate and long-term health risks to individuals and could further burden the health systems we all depend on. Now more than ever, we realize that our actions have an impact on the health and well-being of others.
Only with strong health care systems that place primary health care, including immunization, at the centre, can we leave no one behind. Only a united health workforce can ensure that all children receive the vaccines they deserve for a healthier future. And only through our individual contributions to vaccinate ourselves and our children can we create a European Region free of vaccine-preventable diseases and be #protectedtogether.
Stay healthy and safe – and look out for one another.