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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

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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Walking the Talk: Equity in the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

As the world enters its second year living with COVID-19, much of the public attention and investment has shifted to large scale vaccination efforts. Scientists around the world have been called upon to dedicate unprecedented time, resources and energy to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The urgency is unquestionable, yet in the rush to vaccinate and be vaccinated personal and global ethics are on the line. We must avoid repeating the same mistakes that have been so starkly illuminated across the global response to the pandemic, namely increasing health disparities and health inequities in many marginalized populations. In a recent article published in the Atlantic entitled “The Vaccine Line Is Illogical” author, Epidemiologist and Professor at the Yale School of Public Health, Dr Gregg Gonsalves reflects on his own experience with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the implications of exciting strategies for vaccine distribution both nationally (in the United States) and internationally. While equity has been at the forefront of preliminary discussions regarding vaccine distribution, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO has stated that while many countries “speak the language of equitable access, some countries and companies continue to prioritize bilateral deals, going around COVAX, driving up prices and attempting to jump to the front of the queue.” Dr Tedros warns that “the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries and the world’s poorest people.” Unfortunately, the reality of these disparities are already present. More than 39 million vaccine doses had been distributed across 49 rich countries, while one poorer nation—Guinea—has received just 25 doses. These trends not only exist between high-income and low-income countries, but these disparities are also mirrored within countries. Despite efforts to ensure that those in greatest need of vaccination receive it first, fundamental issues regarding barriers to access have been all but ignored. A recent article entitled “Older adults without family or friends lag in race to get coronavirus vaccines” illustrates that despite the “prioritization” of vaccinating older adults (a population that has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19) many of this population face significant barriers in accessing vaccination gateways and services. Those living alone or with limited mobility may be unable to travel to vaccination sites while others may not have access to the internet, or the digital literacy required to register online for appointments or receive notifications when vaccines become available. Dr. XinQi Dong, Director, Institute for Health, Health Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University has expressed increasing concern that “barriers to getting vaccines are having unequal impacts on our older population.” Those with limited resources and social supports, the very individuals most in need and at risk of COVID-19, the least likely to receive timely access to vaccination are being left behind. This situation is painfully ironic when leave no one behind (LNOB) is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals. Initial reporting has indicated that Black and Hispanic individuals in the United States are two to three times less likely than Caucasians to have been vaccinated as of now. These trends extend beyond the United States and beyond even discussions specific to a COVID-19 vaccine. While COVID-19 has shone an unflattering light on public health shortcomings in addressing equity it also provides an opportunity to examine these issues more broadly. Issues of accessibility be it transportation, language or even time are all factors that impact access to other lifesaving vaccinations such as influenza, pneumococcal and shingles. It is imperative that global leaders in public health continue to refine strategies for the equitable distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, and these lessons learned, and policies developed extend beyond this time of crisis and become foundational to future discussions towards ending immunization inequity. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and immunisation amongst at-risk populations, contact Dr Holly Seale, Senior Lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHMC), University of New South Wales from the IFA Expert Centre. If you are an individual who works with older adults, IFA wants to hear from you to better understand how equity is conceptualized and operationalized within your organizations and countries of origin. To learn more about how to contribute to this important dialogue connect with Ms Anna Sangster (asangster@ifa.ngo), and sign the IFA pledge to End Immunization Inequity. 

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New research suggests influenza and pneumonia vaccines can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Talk to our IFA experts to learn more

By Megan Acton - Program Manager, International Federation on AgeingNew research suggests that the same vaccines that protect older adults against influenza and pneumonia may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.Researchers at the University of Texas searched through medical records of around 9,000 people 60 years old and older, and found that those who had at least one flu shot were 17% less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease, and those who had regular influenza vaccination reduced their risk by an additional 13%.Researchers at Duke University and the University of North Carolina also examined medical records of close to 5,000 people aged 65 years and older and found that those who received vaccination against pneumonia before the age of 75 had a 25% less chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.Experts in the field of cognition found these research findings surprising, with Dr. Paul Schulz, Director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Center at McGovern stating, "To have these guys come out and say, well it looks like getting the vaccine is associated with less [Alzheimer's] was totally the opposite of what any of us thought." Further research has demonstrated that vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza may other have secondary protective effects, especially for adults with chronic disease, that information can be found in the IFA’s report, The Secondary Benefits of Influenza Vaccination. This is a fascinating development and if you are a journalist covering this subject – then let our experts help. • Dr. Mine Durusu-Tanriover is a professor of internal medicine in Hacettepe University School of Medicine (Ankara, Turkey) and the author of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles, with expertise in adult vaccination. • Dr. Samir Sinha is a passionate and respected advocate for the needs of older adults, with expertise in adult vaccination, public policy, quality of care, and frailty. Dr. Sinha's breadth of international training and expertise in health policy and the delivery of services related to the care of the elderly have made him a highly regarded expert in the care of older adults.Dr. Durusu-Tanriover and Dr. Sinha are available to speak with media. Simply click on either expert’s icon to arrange an interview today.

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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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