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Latin American Adult Immunization Advocacy Summit 

On 9 - 10 April 2016, the IFA, the National Institute of Geriatrics and the National Institute of Public Health brought together 40 key stakeholders and opinion leaders from countries including Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru to collaboratively produce adult vaccination knowledge that can be translated into actions and policies in public health, ageing and vaccines to ensure healthy ageing for all.

With the overall broad goal to improve the uptake rates of adult vaccination, experts discussed how country specific barriers are well understood throughout Latin America; however no actions or policies have been put into place to combat these adult vaccination barriers.  The discussion with experts demonstrated that all country specific barriers had one main theme linking them all: ageism.  

Ageism is the main barrier in ensuring healthy ageing and is usually overlooked in discussions on how to improve adult vaccination uptake rates.  When country specific barriers can be placed under the prejudicial attitudes towards older people, old age and ageing itself or the discriminatory practices, institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older adults, it demonstrates that ageism is at the core of the problem for vaccination uptake rates.

"Wouldn't it be great if physicians had to access and prescribe based on each person's physical and mental condition, free of bias about which symptoms were likely to crop up at a given stage of life, and which were 'worth treating'" 
- Ashton Applewhite

Ageism feeds the assumption that older adults will benefit less from preventative treatment, where the physician fails to offer adequate preventative counselling for their older patients and where governments don't prioritise adult vaccination policies in their countries.

The first step is to develop a new narrative around health promotion and disease prevention across the life course that demonstrates the change needed in the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices of society, healthcare providers and the broader policy environment of healthcare systems and government.

Through the development of this new narrative a person will not be defined or stereotyped by their specific level of functioning, age or health but will be supported through innovative policies in all avenues to achieve a level of health and functional capacity to lead a satisfying life where they are valued and respected.

- Latin American Survey Results - 

"Average of 41 days to fully recover from Pneumonia with 34% feeling they still haven't returned to their normal level of health!" 

Pneumococcal Pneumonia, according to the World Health Organization, is the most common cause of illness and death in the world.  It tends to be more dangerous in older adults, people with underlying medical conditions or weak / weakened immune systems. 

Knowing the severity of Pneumococcal Pneumonia, Pfizer Toluca conducted a Latin American survey in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru to understand uptake rates of adult vaccination in the regions and public perceptions of Pneumococcal Pneumonia.

Some of the major findings from the survey demonstrated that about 1 in 3 people don't know the specifics of what defines pneumonia even though everyone has heard about it.  Majority of the respondents had misconceptions of pneumonia, namely in terms of its spread, its preventability, its seasonality and who is more likely to be affected.  

Respondents understood the severity of pneumonia but believed they were at low risk of catching it and even though the respondents understood the value of vaccination, most believed hygiene would protect them from the condition. 

The survey demonstrated that the lack of awareness and knowledge severely hindered respondents in ensuring they received the recommended pneumonia vaccine.  Most people who have had pneumonia will state that it is worse in reality than what they thought and would recommend the vaccine.

To learn more about the Pneumococcal Pneumonia perceptions and barriers in Latin American, read the main findings here
Recommendations to Improve Adult Vaccination Coverage in Latin America

Despite the availability of safe, effective and relatively accessible vaccines, adult vaccination remains at a low level worldwide and especially in Latin America resulting in millions of adults every year suffering illness, hospitalisation and even death from vaccine-preventable diseases.

In response to this problem, the Americas Health Foundation (AHF) convened, managed and facilitated the development of this document: Recommendations to Improve Adult Vaccination Coverage in Latin America.  The 24 endorsing organisations are deeply committed to increasing adult vaccination coverage in the Region.  These organisations believe that it should be considered an individual, community and governmental responsibility and that increasing vaccination coverage in adults is an essential investment in every country's future.

Read the Recommendations to Improve Adult Vaccination Coverage in Latin America Report here.
Adult Vaccination Symposium at the SAGG Congress, 25 - 27 August 2016, Buenos Aires

Foundation Center for Infectious Disease Studies (FUNCEI) have organized an Adult Vaccination Working Group to work on the prevention of adult infections through vaccination. Synergies will be achieved through joint activities and actions.

In August SAGG and FUNCEI are working together to present an Adult Vaccination Symposium at the 2016 SAGG Congress to be held in Buenos Aires from the 25th - 27th August 2016.  

This Congress is one of the largest educational events for professionals involved in managing the health of older adults.  Delegates attending the congress will range from physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, gerontologists, social security leaders and professionals.

For more information, please access the SAGG Congress website.
The National Institute of Public Health Video Conference on Adult Vaccination 

The National Institute of Public Health (INSP) in Mexico is one of the largest public health institutions in the developing world and most prominent institution in teaching, research and service to improve public health in Mexico and Latin America.

INSP believes in the importance of generating and disseminating knowledge, state-of-the-art training of human resources and innovation in multidisciplinary research in order to develop evidence-based public policies, contribute to social equity and the right to health protection. 

In the video below, Dr. Jose Luis Diaz Ortega, Investigator of Medical Sciences at the National Institute of Public Health presents distinctive features of adult vaccination programs and strategies which could be employed by countries like Mexico.  These programs and strategies must keep in mind optimal age, the vaccines used, and vaccination schedule must be guided by the criteria of cost effectiveness, cost benefit, financial feasibility and public policies in the country.

Adult Vaccination Video Summary: (Spanish) (English)

The Importance of Adult Vaccination
The Importance of Adult Vaccination, Dr. Jose Luis Diaz Ortega

Immunizations for Adults: Audio Messages to Raise Awareness

The Fundacion Centro de Estudios Infectologicos/Foundation Center for Infectious Disease Studies (FUNCEI) Adult Vaccination Working Group have developed a radio awareness campaign to raise awareness about adult vaccinations.

The messages aim to provide health information for the community by addressing why vaccines are important to protect older adults from flu, pneumococcal infections, herpes zoster, tetanus, and other infectious diseases.  The radio awareness campaign also focuses on how immunizations help prevent complications in patients with diabetes, coronary, respiratory or other predisposing conditions.

The radio spots are delivered through FUNCEI´s social media channels and are run at all Farmacity stores, the largest pharmacy chain in Argentina.  To listen to the free radio clips, which are available for download in Spanish here.

For more information visit FUNCEI website here or follow the campaign on Facebook and share communication materials at

Latin American Adult Vacciation Recommendations, 
Dra. Natalia Londono, ACMI
The Colombian Association of Internal Medicine (Asociacion Colombiana de Medicina Interna, ACMI) is a non-profit organisation of professional, scientific and industry members.  ACMI's mission is to bring together medical specialists in internal medicine and its sub-specialties, general practitioners and other specialists to provide the best service in continuing medical education development. 

From 2014 to 2016 ACMI's aim has been to be the leading medical, scientific, trade association in promoting research and development of professional practice in order to be a certifying body at the national level, with comprehensive ethics, bringing together all Colombian Medical Associations related to internal medicine. 

Dra. Natalia Londono, delegate at the Latin American Summit, is part of ACMI and an advocate in ensuring older adults receive the recommended vaccines in the region. 

Adult Vaccination Recommendations Video Summary: (Spanish) (English)

Vaccination, Dra Natalia Londono
Vaccination Recommendations, Dra Natalia Londono
Argentina Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SAGG) Continuing Medical Education Program

Dr. Ricardo Jaurequi, President, SAGG
Dra. Miriam Rozenek, Geriatrics
/Infectious Diseases Specialist, SAGG 
Framed in a program of continuing medical education and trying to position the issue of vaccination among health priorities for older adults, the Argentina Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology (SAGG) has initiated an update in vaccine knowledge for all PAMI doctors.
PAMI is the Argentinean Social Security for older adults.  It is responsible for primary and acute, chronic care, as well as the provision of medication and equipment required for senior´s health maintenance.

The modality of execution of the update is through a web delivered course on various topics of geriatrics (large geriatric syndromes, polypharmacy, healthy ageing) including vaccination.  This course will be sent to all PAMI physicians in the country, with text and slides, examples through clinical cases and a final evaluation.  The activity will be starting in June and is free for all users.

For more information about the continuing education medial program, please email Dr. Miriam Rozenek, Geriatrics and Infectious Disease Specialist, SAGG at
Lessons Learned from the Development of a New Methodology to Assess Missed Opportunities for Vaccination in Latin America and the Caribbean

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP), 3rd strategic objective calls for the benefits of immunization to be distributed equitable to all people.  

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in its Regional Immunization Vision and Strategy, shares this goal and has, with other partners, helped Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries to implement plans of action to raise immunization coverage in vulnerable municipalities.

Eliminating missed opportunities for vaccination (MOVs) is an important step in healthy ageing for all by ensuring every- and any opportunity with a medical professional is a chance to openly discuss recommended vaccines and if the patient is up to date. Eliminating MOVs will inevitably increase vaccination uptake rates and reduce unnecessary infections, associated complications and hospitalizations.  

Read the "Lessons Learned from the Development of New Methodology to Assess Missed Opportunities for Vaccination in Latin America and the Caribbean" article and learn about the updated methodology and questionnaires for evaluating missed opportunities for vaccination (MOVs), including the process of developing these tools; shared lessons learned from the pilot project and other recent immunization studies conducted in Latin America and Caribbean; and the limitations and advantages of the updated methodology.  
Dear Readers,

If you are an NGO, academic, scientist or government decision maker working in the field of adult vaccination, ageing and public health and would like to learn more about the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination, please contact Ms Izabella Kaczmarek at

Connect with the IFA on any of the below social media platforms:
International Federation on Ageing, 351 Christie Street, Toronto, Ontario M6G 3C3 Canada
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