Croatian medical experts adopt the Declaration on the Importance of Vaccination.
Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) and Croatian Institute for Public Health (HZJZ) adopted on Friday the Declaration on the Importance of Vaccination, stressing that the child’s right to health is more important than the parents’ rights to choose, while the benefits of vaccination for health are incomparably greater than the risk of side effects, reports HRT on April 8, 2017.
“The decision on vaccination of children is not and cannot be the exclusive right of parents. The child’s right to health is more important than the rights of parents to choose,” states the declaration which is a response to the growing anti-vaccination movement in Croatia.
The declaration has been supported by a number of prominent medical experts, representatives of legislative and executive authorities in the field of health, competent regulatory authorities, the World Health Organization, professional medical associations, experts from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Law, and representatives of patients’ associations.
The declaration points out that it is the constitutional duty of the state to protect human health, especially children’s, and that the Convention on the Rights of the Child means that Croatia is committed to the recognition of the child’s right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, including in preventive healthcare.
“Vaccination is one of the greatest medical advances of the modern era and one of the safest medical interventions. There is no doubt that it has been scientifically established that the benefits of vaccination for health are incomparably greater than the risk of possible side effects, which are usually single events,” states the declaration, which was adopted as part of the roundtable “Vaccination: truth vs. delusion”, which was organized by HLK and HZJZ, in conjunction with the School of Public Health “Andrija Štampar”.
The declaration was issued ahead of “peaceful assemblies” which will be organized on Sunday in Zagreb and Split by opponents of mandatory vaccination. They said they would respond to “repressive measures and the pressure from the media and entire legislative, health and education systems which impose the obligation to vaccinate children.”
Therefore, the declaration expresses concern due to data that a significant number of parents in Croatia would decide against vaccinating their children if it were not a legal obligation. “Many citizens give credence to unreliable and inaccurate sources of information, rather than to accept information obtained from doctors and professional institutions,” it says and warns that the decline in vaccination coverage in the population could lead to irreversible and catastrophic consequences for human health and the nation.
All relevant entities in the medical profession, politics and society are invited to come to a strong, lasting and comprehensive agreement on the need and importance of regular implementation of vaccination.
The roundtable participants emphasized the seriousness of possible consequences of the fall of vaccination rates. “Vaccination is one of the most effective medical interventions. Smallpox was eradicated, we are close to the global eradication of polio, and diseases such as neonatal tetanus, tuberculosis meningitis, measles and rubella have been virtually eliminated. The views of relevant medical professions about the importance of vaccination are not in doubt,” said the director of Croatian Institute for Public Health Krunoslav Capak.