The efficacy of global health infrastructure to support a growing ageing population is a vital part of healthy ageing. This includes advocating alongside countries in the Global South, where public health infrastructure, including that concerning vaccination across the life course, may still be in its early stages. Establishing a cohesive vaccination paradigm means challenging ageist attitudes that seek to diminish the value of older people within society, in part by limiting access to life-saving vaccinations.
Vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) such as whooping cough, diarrhea, polio, measles, and human papilloma virus are common conversations throughout childhood, yet diseases such as influenza, herpes zoster (shingles), pneumonia, tetanus, and meningitis also have dire consequences across the population. These diseases often have a particularly damaging effect on people with weakened immune systems, including people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart disease and diabetes, and older people.
On the 22-23 March 2017 in Geneva, The World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting entitled “WHO meeting on Immunization in the Elderly” that brought together adult vaccination stakeholders. IFA Secretary General, Dr. Jane Barratt, had the opportunity to attend this meeting, which underscored the impacts and opportunities of implementing vaccination programs for older people, specifically in low and middle-income countries. This meeting is just one example of the many initiatives taking place internationally to develop good practices in adult vaccination.
By increasing the visibility of the life course approach to vaccination as an important part of healthy ageing, societies will take the critical step to ensure that everyone has a chance to maintain and/or improve their health, well-being and functional capacity in later life.
2017 World Immunization Week (WIW) will take place from 24-30 April with a campaign that focuses on protecting people of all ages from preventable diseases through vaccination, and encouraging countries to make progress on the goals laid out in the Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011-2020.
Throughout World Immunization Week, the IFA encourages readers to use the provided social media resources below to share with your networks the importance of improving adult vaccination uptake rates and to follow/re-post from the IFA’s social media platforms:
World Immunization Week – Social Media Calendar