International Infection Prevention Week: be prepared, get vaccinated

11 October, 2019

International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW), observed this year on 13-19 October, offers an opportunity for healthcare workers, the public health community, patients and the public to come together to recognise and promote the importance of infection prevention.

Airway and pulmonary infections play an important role for outpatient, clinical and intensive care medicine, and respiratory infections are a leading cause of sickness and mortality both in children and adults worldwide. However, thanks to advances in medical research and clinical care, many infections can be protected against via vaccination.

Vaccination against infectious respiratory diseases has been of great importance for improving public health. We can now prevent cases of influenza and pneumonia, and protect people living with chronic respiratory diseases like cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma from catching viral or bacterial infections, which helps to prevent worsening of those conditions and saves lives every year.

ERS is committed to tackling misinformation about vaccines and to educating patients and the public about the benefits of being vaccinated through the Healthy Lungs for Life campaign. Babies, young children and the elderly have weaker immune systems and are at heightened risk from infection, and of experiencing serious adverse health following infection, so we must ensure the public is aware of the risks of not getting themselves or their children vaccinated.

Further, this campaign also emphasises the importance of healthcare worker vaccination, as healthcare professionals are at heightened risk of getting infections and infecting others. The ERS Past-President Prof. Tobias Welte was vaccinated against influenza on screen earlier this year to raise awareness of this issue, and we encourage all healthcare professionals to get vaccinated – watch the video.

ERS materials for International Infection Prevention Week

Open-access resources:

ERS events and activities:

ERS Courses

EU Projects

  • PREPARE – The Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re)emerging Epidemics is a network improving future public health responses to severe outbreaks of infectious disease

Visit the International Infection Prevention Week website


Image: Heather Hazzan, SELF Magazine