Malta is working closely with the WHO/Europe’s work in the areas of vaccines and immunisation by following the European Vaccine Action Plan, the major goals of which include the elimination of measles and rubella, and maintaining the polio-free status of the European region.

Malta has already been certified as polio-, measles- and rubella-free for some years now. Our country is proud to possess the World Health Organisation certification declaring Malta to be a measles- and rubella-free country. This success is attributable to the efficient National Immunisation Programme which provides all children in Malta with a free and accessible vaccination programme.

The national free immunisation schedule has been updated in accordance with new vaccine availability. On the European Immunisation Week 2017 (24-30th April) initiative, the Ministry for Health reiterates that vaccines truly work and have been successful over the years in reducing the morbidity and mortality of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective health interventions available, saving millions of people from illness, disability and death each year. Effective and safe vaccines, which protect against a number of serious diseases, are available, and many promising new vaccines are being developed.

In the 21st century, every child has the right to live free from vaccine-preventable diseases, but these diseases still pose significant threats in the world. Consequently, strengthening immunisation remains vital.

Vaccines have proved themselves successful in providing substantial and highly cost-effective improvements to human health, particularly to that of children. Hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine are used every year and their safety and efficacy has been proven in preventing a number of serious diseases and their complications

Vaccines are safe

Vaccines are vigorously tested and proven safe before being licensed and introduced into national immunisation programmes. Before a vaccine is recommended to children, it passes through a very long rigorous process of development and testing that takes several years.

Vaccines save lives

It is estimated that vaccines prevent 2 to 3 million deaths every year worldwide. These deaths would result from the 26 diseases for which vaccines are available, including diphtheria, tetanus, polio and measles. When vaccination rates are high, this protects the whole community against the disease. This is why it is important that more than 95% of children are immunised against these diseases, so that this will prevent non-immunised individuals from becoming vulnerable to the disease and causing outbreaks. Unfortunately, unscientific and sensational reports appearing over the internet and in some sectors of the media frighten parents into refusing to vaccinate their children. This has happened over the last few years in Europe causing the large measles outbreaks being reported in Italy and Romania, just this year. Measles can result in permanent disabilities and death and, in fact, Romania has already reported 17 deaths from measles since last year.

We strongly urge the public to continue immunising their children. Vaccines are safe and continue to be highly recommended by all international health institutions. For advice on vaccinations, the general public are advised to seek professional advice and follow reputable authority websites and publications by health professionals.

Source: Government of Malta