An online event about the vaccination of children and adolescents was organized by the Institute of Public Health (IPH), The American College of Greece, on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, featuring a presentation by Maria Theodoridou, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and Chair of the Hellenic National Vaccination Committee.
As described by Prof. Theodoridou, approximately two hundred new vaccines are currently being tested while the development of biotechnology in the recent decades has contributed to the prevention of up to three million deaths annually and the prevention of disabilities in seven hundred fifty thousand children, an extremely significant impact on human health and quality of life.
Cases where children are not vaccinated can be attributed to negligence or poor compliance of parents, to socio-economic and political conditions, e.g. wars, immigration, as well as to medical reasons or personal beliefs. On the other hand, according to European data, safety, lack of information, reduced trust in health systems and the infrequent occurrence of serious cases of a disease, are the top reasons of hesitation towards vaccination.
In this context, Prof. Theodoridou alerted to the imminent risk of reappearance of rare and forgotten infectious diseases if the vaccination of children and adolescents stops during the pandemic and underlined that prior to the release of any vaccine by manufacturers, strict internal controls are in place, after which the drugs must receive approvals by independent bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Food and Drug Administration, etc.
Furthermore, upon market release product monitoring is an ongoing process, allowing for immediate improvements so as to increase its effectiveness and safety.
Prof. Theodoridou concluded by underscoring the need to fight misinformation and to educate the public about the benefits of vaccinating children and adolescents.
For more information, you may read the press release of the event (in Greek) as well as watch the video of the lecture here.
( Photo caption: From left to right: Prof. Maria Theodoridou, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and Chair of the Hellenic National Vaccination Committee; Dr. Anna Tzortzi, Pulmonologist, Associate Director of the Institute of Public Health, The American College of Greece)