Gratitude to scientists and health workers

HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark and WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge pose on the occasion of European Immunization Week in front of a painting celebrating the first use of Dr Edward Jenner’s groundbreaking smallpox vaccine in 1796.

The Crown Princess of Denmark has expressed her thanks to scientists and health workers on the occasion of the European Immunization Week 26 April-2 May.

In a statement at the launch of the week at WHO Regional Headquarters in Copenhagen Mary, the Crown Princess of Denmark said:

“The past year has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought tragedy, suffering and frustration to so many, and which will leave its mark on our society for many years to come. To help us put this pandemic behind us, we have our hopes firmly pinned on the new vaccines that have been developed in record time.

The experience of the pandemic and of longing for a safe, effective vaccine has given us a glimpse of what it felt like for people in days gone by, when diseases like polio, measles and diphtheria swept through communities claiming lives, especially those of little children. Thankfully, we now have vaccines that can protect us from these diseases and we also have safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19.

As COVID-19 vaccines are now being rolled out across the WHO European Region and the world, it is understandable to wish for a way to vaccinate everyone overnight. But it is vital that we be patient and remain vigilant in ensuring the transmission of COVID-19 is minimal. And when it is our turn to be vaccinated, we can all roll up our sleeves and welcome the chance to protect ourselves and others. In the meantime, it is crucially important to keep up with all routine vaccinations and other medical appointments.

A moment for reflection

European Immunization Week is a moment to reflect on our huge gratitude to the scientists and researchers who develop vaccines and to the health workers who play their essential part in delivering them. We have safe and effective means to eliminate many diseases, thereby preventing suffering that can permanently alter or take lives. And with the COVID-19 vaccine, we are closer to being able to also put the current COVID-19 pandemic in our past.

European Immunization Week is also an opportunity to celebrate how far we have come with vaccination and the millions of lives saved every year. It’s a time to make our own personal commitment to being fully vaccinated and help those around us to be so too.”