ESPNIC position on vaccinations
The European Society for Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC) has become aware of ongoing discussions on paediatric vaccinations currently undertaken in some countries.
Many of the diseases prevented by vaccinations are amongst these life-threatening conditions that can put a child’s life in extreme danger. These include diseases such as Meningitis, Septicemia, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Epiglottiitis which can kill children even despite admission to the intensive care unit. There is no disease for which intensive care can ensure 100% survival or survival free from sequelae, despite the advancement in our field. That is why effective vaccination is so important.
Moreover, severe illness requiring admission to paediatric intensive care is expensive and not without risk and is often associated with other complications related to the invasive nature of critical care procedures, is expensive, and highly stressful for parents and families of children affected. Thus, we want to highlight that the best way to prevent these life-threatening illnesses is through safe and effective vaccination. We stress that the availability of modern critical care is not the answer to these diseases and cannot and will never take the place of prevention effectively achieved by vaccinations. In all cases, prevention of disease is the goal and has been very effectively achieved for many of these diseases by the widespread uptake of effective vaccines in the population.
Vaccinations have been a cornerstone of paediatric medicine. Their benefits hugely outweigh any possible side effects and this is confirmed by years of well conducted studies confirming vaccine safety. There is no scientific doubt on this issue and there is no scientifically valid or rational reason not to vaccinate a child.
We urge you to put in place all the best measures to enforce vaccination policies and prevent intensive care unit admission for children affected by life threatening diseases which are preventable by effective available vaccines.
Dr.Simon Nadel MD,PhD
Prof.Martin C. Kneyber MD,PhD, FCCM
Chair of Scientific Affairs
Prof.Daniele De Luca MD,PhD