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Vaccines 4 Life
Vaccines 4 Life
Vaccines4Life is a knowledge mobilization platform that serves as a point of connection on the most urgent matters related to adult vaccination.

Our Vision

A world of healthy older people whose rights to safe and appropriate vaccines are protected and respected through programs that hold high the principles of prevention, access and equity.

Our News

Sign the Pledge to End Immunization Inequity

The pledge to End Immunization Inequity aligns with the principle of the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030) to “Leave no one behind” and supports the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing to improve the lives of older people, their families and their communities.

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Our Experts

Forgetting Adult Immunization During Covid-19

Every day the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring on new economic, social and health challenges for all members and especially those most at risk to severe consequences including older persons and those with chronic health conditions. Significant impacts have also been experienced in regular routine health care services including increasingly longer wait times, fear of in-person checkups, and a decline in routine immunizations such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, measles, and shingles. The stark decline in routine adult immunizations as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic may not only impose serious implications to vulnerable groups at risk to life altering diseases but also to the health and safety of the general population. In a recent article published through the BioPharma- Reporter, Dr. Friedland, vice president, director scientific affairs and public health at GSK stresses attention to the decline in adult immunizations that may exacerbate serious strains on public health through increased exposure to non-COVID infectious diseases. Furthermore, Dr. Friedland points out that although there are a variety of barriers ‘in more normal times’ that can explain low adult vaccination rates including fear of adverse side effects and vaccine hesitancy, the pandemic has disrupted the vaccination pathway for routine vaccines. There is sustained need to increase knowledge and awareness of the safety, effectiveness and value of routine adult immunizations through the involvement of civil society advocates and public health experts. The International Federation on Ageing, through it is Vaccines4Life platform prioritizes bringing awareness on the safety and effectiveness of adult vaccinations to address vaccine hesitancy, build trust and improve equity among the most at risk groups including older adults. To learn more, check out the resources produced through IFA’s ’60 Second Fact Check: Vaccine Safety for Older Adults’ campaign. To engage in this campaign, contact Ms. Petek Yurt (pyurt@ifa.ngo). On 9 November, the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing will be hosting the first in person and virtual conference entitled ‘Rights Matter’ which aims to build global collective action to fight for the rights of older adults, under the four pillars aligned with the UN Decade of Ageing and WHO Immunization Agenda 2030: ageism, age-friendly cities and communities, primary health care, and long-term care alongside older people and pandemics. Delegates have the unique opportunity to engage, network, and learn from diverse experts from all around the world. To learn more and connect with an expert on this topic, contact Dr. Palle Valentiner-Branth, the Head of Vaccine-Preventable Disease Group of the Statens Serum Institute. He serves as the National Focal Point for vaccine preventable diseases in the European Center of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and is the author/co-author of more than 70 peer reviewed publications with extensive research experience in vaccinology and infectious disease epidemiology.

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Access to adult vaccination for older people in remote, rural and hard-to-reach communities

The United Nations (UN) has previously stressed the risk of COVID-19 for indigenous communities since they are among the most vulnerable, with higher rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases, poorer sanitation and inadequate access to healthcare. Additionally, indigenous peoples often experience stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings and distrust in government, resulting in difficulty with COVID-19 management and vaccine delivery.According to a recent report by the Thomas Reuters Foundation, Brazilian indigenous communities have been particularly devastated by COVID-19, with nearly a thousand deaths within this population due to the pandemic. Many of those who died were indigenous elders, over the age of 60. Like many indigenous peoples, elders transmit traditional knowledge, practices and languages to future generations. For Brazil’s indigenous communities, the loss of elders represents the death of traditions, culture and knowledge. COVID-19 destroyed a “library” of knowledge and identity held by community elders. As COVID-19 vaccination is well underway in many countries, it is important that the principles of prevention, access and equity are upheld throughout the rollout of vaccination strategies. These principles are detailed in the Immunization Agenda 2030, which outlines a global strategy to ensure equitable and community-centred delivery of immunization services to ensure good health and well-being for everyone. Exercising these principles means ensuring that hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities have access to vaccines and contextually appropriate information on vaccine preventable diseases. COVID-19 vaccination of remote and hard-to-reach populations is an opportunity to bolster adult immunization strategies, expand immunization infrastructure and establish adult vaccination policy for other vaccine preventable diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia and shingles. Implementation of vaccination policy for older people may help preserve the culture and traditions of communities, allowing libraries to remain intact longer.In Brazil, COVID-19 vaccination of indigenous communities is a priority, however some older people in the community oppose the vaccine. Glades Kokama, a leader of the Kokama indigenous community in the Amazon region, says, “Some (elders) believe in the vaccine, but some don’t. We try to explain it to them, but we have to respect our elders.” Combating vaccine hesitancy amongst older people is needed to improve healthy ageing through vaccination. It is important that communication is targeted and specific to the population context and needs. For indigenous and hard-to-reach communities, distribution of information and promotion of vaccination requires partnership with community leaders and culturally appropriate messaging.The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is committed to addressing barriers to adult vaccination for older people by expanding knowledge and access to vaccination, and improving vaccination messaging. The 15th Global Conference on Ageing entitled “Rights Matter” provides a global platform to inspire, enquire, learn and advocate for immunization policies and practices that create an environment that enables older people to do what they value. Visit the conference website to learn about the pre-conference Vaccines 4 Life Summit “Beyond the Pandemic: Driving Policy to Improve Adult Immunization Rates” and the Presidential Symposium on Adult Vaccination “Together Towards Tomorrow: Post-pandemic Action on Adult Vaccination”. To learn more about adult vaccination for older people and combating vaccine hesitancy, contact these experts. • Lois Privor-Dumm, Director of Adult Vaccines, Senior Advisor, Policy Advocacy and Communications at the International Vaccine Access Center • Dr. José F. Parodi, Professor of Geriatrics and Public Health in the Faculty of Human Medicine at the Universidad de San Martin de Porres of Peru (FMH-USMP) and Director of Center for Ageing Research – CIEN of the FMH-USMP. • Dr. Holly Seale, Associate Professor at the School of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New South Wales.

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Vaccine Hesitancy as a Consequence of Social Media Misinformation

The rise of mass media and exposure to diverse sources of information can impose both positive and negative implications to influence a view, opinion and attitude towards an issue, especially with regard to vaccines. Messages based upon fear, lack of evidence or even myths may impact the decisions individuals make in being vaccinated against infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumonia as well as COVID-19. A recent article written by Karen Nikos-Rose suggests that credible sources such as Universities and health institutions can generate positive attitudes toward vaccines rather than misinformation, especially with the help of fact check tags or when a post is verified. These simple actions can play a vital role in combating vaccine myths. Contrary to some beliefs it is vital that health experts respond to misinformation immediately. Prof. Jingwen Zhang, lead author from the University of California study states, “The most important thing I learned from this paper is that fact checking is effective…giving people a simple label can change their attitude. Secondly, I am calling for more researchers and scientists to engage in public health and science communications. We need to be more proactive. We are not using our power right now.” Facts about the effectiveness of vaccines in protecting and maintaining the health and well-being of at-risk populations including older persons and those with chronic conditions is available yet the risk of misinformation continues to influence behavior towards vaccines. Combating misinformation on vaccines through social media is a tested action to prevent the growth of vaccine hesitancy and encourage positive messages towards vaccines to reduce the spread of diseases that burden global public health. It is also imperative to understand the perspectives, views and opinions of at-risk populations towards vaccines to better respond to knowledge gaps and ensure messages are not only evidence based but tailored to answer health concerns and needs. As a proud member of the Vaccine Safety Net, the IFA is committed to building awareness, knowledge and improving messaging on vaccine safety through a collaborative effort between physicians, public health professionals, policy makers, and civil society to ensure older persons, including those with complex health needs, are confident to access safe and affordable vaccines to live healthily. To join this global movement of combating vaccine hesitancy and building trust and confidence in vaccines that will enable protection against life altering diseases, connect with experts and learn more in our monthly newsletter. Dr. Gaëtan Gavazzi is a Professor at Grenoble-Alpes University and expert specializing in Geriatrics, Internal Medicine, Vaccines and Healthy Aging. He has published more than 120 peer reviewed papers and participated in nearly 500 events at national and international levels. His research related to this topic includes communicating the benefits of vaccines and analyzing vaccine hesitancy and acceptance. Mr. Gary Finnegan is Editor of Vaccines Today, an online platform that facilitates an informed discussion on vaccinations. The content of Vaccines Today is produced through interviews with experts from academia, patient groups, and industry experts, along with reports based on scientific literature and conferences. Gary is also the author of the Vaccine Misinformation Management Field Guide, which provides strategic guidance and coordinated action to rapidly counter vaccine misinformation. IFA is always looking to expand resources on vaccine safety for older adults and those with chronic conditions and welcomes you to submit it to VacciNet.

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Wise Words

Protecting Progress of Vaccination Throughout Life

April 24 is World Meningitis Day, and on this day, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) together with the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) and Immunize Canada want to remind you that meningococcal disease is a health risk you should not take.

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Working Together to Defeat Invasive Meningococcal Disease

April 24 is World Meningitis Day, and on this day, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) together with the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) and Immunize Canada want to remind you that meningococcal disease is a health risk you should not take.

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Join the World Coalition

Health promotion and disease prevention in later stages of life are necessary to a healthy ageing population but require combating ageist attitudes, beliefs and practices of society, healthcare providers and the broader policy environment.

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