Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has spoken out in favour of vaccinations, urging people everywhere to “save lives” and make immunisation a “lifelong responsibility."
The 45-year-old tackled the contentious topic in a World Health Organisation video, released ahead of this year’s annual European Immunisation Week.
"The effect of persistent rumours can cause some people to delay or decide against vaccination, but no rumour can be as compelling as the simple truth that vaccines save lives," she said in the video.
"Relatively few people living in the region today will ever experience firsthand the effects of polio, measles, mumps, congenital rubella syndrome, diphtheria, ptosis or tetanus.”
"Sometimes we take these achievements for granted, which makes celebrating European Immunisation Week even more important."
The mother-of-four, who wed Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004, goes on to label immunisation a “lifelong responsibility."
"Europeans tend not to associate death or illness from vaccine-preventable diseases with their own communities, unfortunately, such preventable tragedies are not as far from home as we might like to think. Recent outbreaks of measles remind us that vaccine-preventable diseases can affect people of all ages and that timely vaccination is a lifelong responsibility," the monarch said.
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"Every new case of cervical cancer is a reminder that action is urgently needed to educate parents and their children about the importance of vaccination in the teen years.”
"Every pneumonia death is a reminder that influenza kills and that the best defence is vaccination, especially for pregnant women, health workers and the elderly.”
"Just a few unvaccinated individuals in a community can expose everyone to potentially fatal diseases, including those too young or weak to be vaccinated," she said.
Princess Mary, who has been a patron of the WHO's Regional Office for Europe since 2005, concludes her message by advocating vigilance.
“We must remain vigilant,” she said. “It is difficult to accept a death from a vaccine preventable disease when we have the means to prevent it.”