The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the number of countries reaching and sustaining 90% coverage of children with routine life-saving vaccinations has doubled since 2000. In 2012, all 194 WHO Member States endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), and committed to ensuring no one misses out on vital immunizations, with a target of 90% DTP3 vaccination coverage in all countries by 2015.
The situation is not the same for adult vaccinations, with each and every year millions of older people are admitted to hospitals with influenza and pneumonia, impacting in an already stretched health and social care system which includes family caregiving. Little global attention has been paid to the social and economic costs and consequences of older adults not being vaccinated against influenza, pneumonia, herpes zoster and for certain adult vaccines against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis.
Vaccinations can provide cost-effective protection against a host of diseases throughout life, but remains an under-promoted and underused public-health strategy in adults for the promotion of healthy ageing.
The poor uptake rates of adult vaccinations globally should not only be of concern across sectors and across disciplines, it should be central to civil society. Galvanising like mind organisations into action is critical.
The Adult Immunization Advocacy Summit convened by the IFA 25 – 27 June 2015 in Rome, Italy, comprised of scientists representing many of the key European organizations associated with diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease marking an important step in considering the life course approach to vaccinations in the context of the healthy ageing policy agenda.
The overall goal of the Summit was to consider the development of European Vaccination Guidelines and thereafter report on a strategic roadmap plan to overcome barriers in Europe to raise coverage rates to targets. This brief report provides high level insight into discussions around presentations from invited experts.
There were two agreed primary outcomes of the Summit. First, co-chairs Dr Javier Garau and Dr Serhat Unal together with fellow scientists agreed about the need for European guidelines to support physicians in decision making pertaining to the safety and efficacy of vaccinations; and committed to working to create a document that is both informative, addressing the burden of disease and cost effectiveness, and practical, supporting physicians in decision making pertaining to the safety and efficacy of vaccinations. Dr Garau will lead the coalition of scientific organisations who will convene before November 2015 to start the process of towards agreed guidelines.
Second, Dr Jane Barratt, International Federation on Ageing and Dr Daphne Holt, Confederation of Meningitis Organizations with acknowledgement by all attendees of the importance of civil society agreed to lead the development of an NGO Adult Immunization Advocacy Summit with the purpose of building a coalition within civil society to be agents of change in improving the uptake rate of adult vaccinations within the context of life-course immunization.
Read the full Adult Immunization Advocacy Summit Report.