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.
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.
Changing the Conversation on Adult Vaccination is a ground-breaking study conducted by the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) on the status of influenza campaigns focussed on the most vulnerable members of our population – older adults and those with underlying chronic conditions.
Pneumococcal Pneumonia: Worth the Shot – Joint Statement by the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination
In the following joint statement, the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination calls on professional, patient and advocacy organizations, together with all levels of government to increase their investment in educating and encouraging older adults and those with chronic diseases to be vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.
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.Read More
When COVID-19 meets Flu Season
Coronavirus disproportionally affects vulnerable populations including older people and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, and heart and lung disease. Every year, these same individuals are most impacted by seasonal influenza, with CDC estimates suggesting that 70-85% of influenza related deaths have occurred among people aged 65 years and older. Where death is not the result, influenza can lead to hospitalizations, long standing diminished function as well as acute or long-term complications. A recent Vaccines Today article written by IFA Expert Mr. Gary Finnegan, Editor of Vaccines Today, explains that although a coronavirus vaccine will not be available for the winter of 2020/2021, vaccines are available that protect against influenza. Mr Finnegan goes on to explain that despite this “every year, huge numbers of people who should be vaccinated are not.” The public often underestimates the impact of influenza on the individual and their family; as well as health and social care systems.Vaccinations against diseases such as influenza have been proven to effectively reduce the risk of adverse consequences for adults with chronic diseases and prevent decline in functional ability of older people. A life course approach to vaccination is therefore critical to healthy ageing. Secretary General of IFA, Dr Jane Barratt adds to this point: “We need to look at flu vaccination rates, but also immunization against pneumococcal disease and shingles. Many of the same people suffering the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak are also those who would benefit from these vaccines.”It is for these reasons that IFA, for over 9 years now, has been advocating for a life course approach to vaccination, with focus on at-risk groups. IFA’s work on vaccination, Vaccines4Life, is set within the context of the WHO Decade of Healthy Ageing, and is aligned with the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030. Under this portfolio of work, IFA envisions a world of healthy older people whose rights to safe and appropriate vaccines are respected through programs that hold high the principles of prevention, access and equity. Removing barriers impeding access to vaccination such as cost and complex vaccination pathways are critical to ensuring people of all ages are protected and no one is left behind. One way influenza vaccination rates could be improved is through pharmacists as a vaccinator gateway. In countries such as Portugal, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom, pharmacists are able to administer vaccinations if they complete the required training. This can allow for greater reach to at-risk groups such as older people who may not typically go out of their way to be vaccinated by their doctor. The pharmacist-vaccinator gateway is important for not only influenza season, but also could be useful when a COVID-19 vaccine is released. Do you have an interesting article, video, webinar or podcast that speaks to improving vaccination rates for at-risk groups? Submit your document to the new IFA VacciNet database to share this important knowledge, and reach out to IFA experts Mr Finnegan and Dr Barratt for further comments on the topic area. To learn more on the interrelationship between COVID-19 and other age-related matters (including grandparenting, technology and ageism) visit IFA’s COVID-19 resource library.Read More
Enriching Immunization Strategies Post-COVID-19
The recovery of health systems around the world post-pandemic will depend upon a re-evaluation and re-orientation of national health priorities and investment strategies. Faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable including older people and those of all ages with underlying conditions, a thoughtful evidence-based approach to priority-setting must commence now. A reliable framework to improve the health of older people and reduce the health system burden of many infectious diseases is a strong immunization strategy founded upon a life course approach. The WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 in the context of the Decade of Healthy Ageing provides evidence-based guidance to Member States to pursue the benefits of vaccines through four core principles:1. Placing people in the centre of strategic priorities 2. Securing national leadership of immunization strategies 3. Establishing broad partnerships for implementation 4. Using data as the driving force of national policies A recent article by Devex describes how adoption of and adherence to strategic priorities outlined in the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 can be a game-changer in the field of global health.This is a critical time for concerted focus and solidarity around strengthening immunization policies that leave no one behind. The momentum around vaccine development and promotion in light of COVID-19 can build upon existing immunization policies and focus attention on increasing access to vaccines across all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.The link between uptake of existing vaccines against diseases such as influenza or pneumonia and the health system burden of the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly evident. As adult vaccination uptake increases, three benefits emerge: 1. Older adults experience fewer complications and outcomes from influenza and pneumonia such as hospitalizations; 2. Fewer hospitalizations for vaccine-preventable disease complications means that more health care resources, including health professionals, are available to treat COVID-19 patients; and 3. A long-term reduction in the burden to health systems can result in greater workforce productivity and economic benefits for communities and countries.World Immunization Week (WIW), taking place 24-30 April 2020, is an opportunity for the global community to reflect upon the social and economic benefits of standing-up for the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030. #VaccinesWork for All, the theme of WIW further emphasizes the need to improve access to vaccines globally in an equitable manner that leaves no one behind. The International Federation on Ageing’s (IFA) World Coalition on Adult Vaccination serves as a platform for connecting thought leaders in the field of life course vaccination. The IFA Expert Centre provides a point of contact to specialists in the fields of epidemiology, vaccination and more. For more information on immunization strategies as they relate to older people, contact Prof. Raina MacIntyre, Head of Public Health and Community Medicine in Sydney, Australia or Dr. Isabella Ballalai, President of the Brazilian Immunization Society in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.The IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing “Rights Matter” in Niagara Falls, Canada 3-5 March 2021 is an international forum for knowledge exchange among global thought leaders in the field of vaccination throughout life. The Vaccines4Life Summit and the IFA Presidential Symposium on Vaccination will feature presentations and interactive workshops from leading experts. Registration is open; visit www.ifa2021.ngo.Read More
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.
You know how one side of your nose gets blocked up worse than the other when you have a bad cold? Well there IS a reason – or so I have just discovered. Did you know that we have a nasal cycle?
Inégalités en matière de soins chez les personnes âgées : pourquoi la vaccination tout au long de la vie est importante
Jane Barratt, Secrétaire générale, International Federation on Ageing (IFA) et Isabelle Deschamps, Responsable des Affaires Publiques Vaccins Monde, Sanofi Pasteur. D’ici...
Reports & Statements
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.