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Vaccine experts in Seoul to examine ways to expand immunization benefits

All News 12:27 June 21, 2017

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- More than 100 medical doctors and vaccine experts from all over the world gathered in Seoul on Wednesday to examine ways to improve vaccine management, and called for concerted efforts on extend benefits of immunization around the world.

The international forum, the first of its kind, is co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and brought together leading experts from academia, private sector institutions, public health officials and civic organizations.

"Vaccination is the most active and basic treatment," said Choo Moo-jin, chief of the Korean Medical Association (KMA), the nation's largest doctors' group.

Participants at the symposium stressed that vaccines are one of the greatest inventions in medical history. They said both governments and doctors should remind the general populous of the importance of vaccinations in maintaining public health.

Annually, an estimated 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented by jabs and liquid drops - a figure that could rise by 1.5 million if more children and adults were treated, according to a WHO report.

There have recently been anti-vaccine movements across the world, including in South Korea. Here the so-called "raising children without medicine" movement has taken root, in which some parents increasingly refuse to vaccinate their kids.

The experts refuted public concerns over a link between vaccines and some diseases, saying that such a choice could endanger the safety of children.

"There were a total of 31 suspected cases of deaths linked to vaccinations between 2011 and 2016," said Kong In-sik, a KCDC official. "However, a thorough investigation confirmed that the deaths were not directly related to vaccinations."

(Photo courtesy of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (Yonhap)


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