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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

Racial Disparities in Adult Vaccine Uptake

Marginalized groups especially older people and those with chronic health conditions not only have a higher risk of contracting infections but are also disproportionately impacted -especially among communities of colour. Patterns of health inequity have shown a long history of Individuals from underserved racial communities as having undiagnosed chronic medical conditions including diabetes, and kidney disease. The devasting impact of COVID-19 pandemic is clear, with social and racial injustice and inequity being the forefront of public health measures. Long standing health disparities continue to encompass the care system and vaccination services and require urgent action to protect the rights of underserved communities. Researchers, Dr. Kosuke Kawai, Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Alison Tse Kawai, Health Solutions, observe lower adult vaccination (e.g., influenza, pneumococcal, shingles, and Tdap) uptake rates particularly among racial and ethnic minorities. According to their findings, these disparities have persisted for decades and continues to become a pressing issue. Furthermore, observations show immunization programs that solidify relationships with diverse community members lead to probable results of eliminating communication and trust barriers between authorities and minorities. However, it is imperative to signal the need to reduce cost barriers as a key piece of ensuring immunisation equity among these groups. Although there is more public health attention to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for marginalized groups, it is still equally important to consider vaccine preventable diseases. More than 42,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases in the US every year, majority can be seen among minority communities who experience a multitude of delays to access the immunizations they need. Vaccines4Life’s study entitled Towards Ending Immunization Inequity is an innovative project aimed to understand the effects of social determinants on vaccination campaigns as a policy lever to improve uptake rates within the most at-risk communities. Stay tuned for its release over the coming months to provide evidence on the need to address health disparities through recommendations from immunization bodies (e.g., NITAGs), vaccination gateways, and access to vaccines for specific populations. Follow Vaccines4Life Twitter for more updates on the findings of this study. To learn more about the barriers to immunization in under studied and special risk populations, please contact Prof. Raina MacIntyre. As the Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW and Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Raina leads innovative research on advancing health equity through immunization programs. For more information on the social determinants of health in racialized older adult populations, please contact Dr. Isabella Aboderin. Isabella is the Regional Chair for Africa of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), Technical Advisor to the Global Commission on Aging in Developing Countries, Member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Ageing, and Board Member of HelpAge International and the United Nations International Institute on Ageing (INIA).

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The G7 Pledge to Address Vaccine Inequity Globally and What This Means for Older Persons

COVID-19 has continuously shown the disproportionate impact of the pandemic between the Global North and Global South. Since March 2021 there have been 117 million cases and 3.83 million deaths globally with the majority of deaths occurring in those 65 years of age and older. The pandemic has also highlighted more broadly the inadequate systems and models of care for older persons globally. Most recently the attention has turned to the reality of global vaccination inequity with 75% of COVID-19 vaccines having been distributed among 10 countries. As the variants continue evolving and emerging so does the number of deaths in the Global South where now countries that previously had been able to control the pandemic are faced with mounting number of infections and deaths but not enough vaccine supply to curb the numbers and stop the spread of variants. The G7 Summit took place on 7th June 2021, where G7 leaders announced a pledge and commitment to provide 870 million COVID-19 vaccines to be shared internationally. The pledge also states that at least half of these vaccines are to be delivered by the end of 2021 through COVAX. COVAX is one of the pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator that was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and France. COVAX is a global collaboration to ensure equitable global distribution of vaccines. The pledge is an attempt to support global equitable access and to help end the continued impact the pandemic is having in the Global South as well as the emergence of new strains. Although the pledge is a step towards addressing issues of vaccine scarcity and inequity, questions arise as to how the vaccines will be distributed and if older persons will be prioritized in vaccination roadmaps. COVID-19 has made clear the vulnerability of older persons. Older persons are an integral part of societies and carry the collective wisdom of society. The pandemic has meant the continued isolation of older persons and much of the media’s focus has served to dehumanize older persons, ignoring their importance within communities and nations. With the prospect of vaccines reaching the most vulnerable in the Global South now is the time to prioritize the needs and wellbeing of older persons. To ensure older persons are no longer ignored and healthy ageing is prioritized as a strategic goal globally there are a series of tools and frameworks in place like the United Nations (UN) Decade of Healthy Ageing and World Health Organization (WHO) Immunization Agenda 2030. Both reports envision a world in which vaccination is a pillar to healthy ageing and now with the prospect of being able to immunize older persons in the context of the pandemic it is important that this pillar is recognized and implemented by Member States globally. The International Federation of Ageing’s (IFA) Vaccines4Life similarly envisions a world through which vaccination is a pillar to healthy ageing and is a platform that serves as a point of connection on adult vaccination. Follow the #Vaccine4Life platform to learn more about the work of IFA and multisectoral partners that comprise the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination on ending immunization inequity and how to join the movement and collaborate with global experts on bridging the inequity gap. The IFA within its 15th Global Conference on Ageing will be hosting a Vaccines4Life Summit which will further emphasize the importance of adult vaccination by bringing together experts and leaders in immunization, ageing, public health, healthy policy, health economics, government to inspire change. To learn more about the importance of adult vaccination please contact: Prof Roman Prymula, Director of University Hospital, University of Defense Dr Ian Philp, Deputy Medical Director at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Dr Mine Durusu-Tanriover, Professor of Internal Medicine, Hacettepe University

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Do Vaccines Really Bring All Older Adults Closer?

As populations age, chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung and heart disease prevail and leave many older adults at risk for serious complications from vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, pertussis and shingles. Vaccination throughout life signifies a life course approach to not only immunisation but also to healthy ageing. Intergovernmental agendas such as the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing and the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 call on governments to implement comprehensive public health programs including immunisation to save lives and maintain functional ability. ‘Vaccines bring us closer’ was the 2021 theme for World Immunization Week, highlighting the value of immunizations beyond the COVID-19 agenda. Awareness of the serious consequences of infectious diseases is often a barrier to population coverage. A recent article written by Sofiat Akinola, Chris Hardesty, and Ada Wong shines light on the severely low adult immunization rates across the Asia Pacific as a result of poor awareness compared to the rates in the United States and the United Kingdom. While it is useful to consider rates in other countries, work by the International Federation on Ageing is cautious in benchmarking and comparison because not only are the health systems vastly different, as are cultural influences. Akinola et al stressed the need for clear and transparent communication on the effectiveness and benefits of vaccination to an ageing population, and this was seen to be insufficient and inconsistent. The recent expert discussion conducted by Sanofi and KPMG in the Asia-Pacific region, with the support of World Economic Forum, showed that many older adults faced uncertainties and a lack of knowledge on the efficacy of vaccination as a key component of healthy ageing. Three pillars were identified to drive sustainable action towards equitable life course immunization: 1. Adult immunization being integrated into national immunization strategies and healthy ageing policies, and regularly reviewed through robust data collection efforts. 2. Targeted and consistent communication strategies that reach those who are currently marginalized and often invisible. 3. Ensuring that nations are able to implement novel models of sustainable healthcare funding beyond the reliance of income taxes. In order to ensure vaccines do bring us closer across the globe, collaborative action that recognizes the pressing barriers faced in developing regions is vital to increasing uptake rates. Aligned with the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) and the WHO Immunisation Agenda 2030, the IFA’s Vaccines4Life Program envisions a world in which vaccination throughout life is a pillar to healthy ageing, recognized through appropriate governmental investment in prevention and promotion. Follow the #Vaccine4Life platform to learn more about the upcoming project on Ending Immunization Inequity which will provide findings on the significant inequities that contribute to low uptake rates, and sign the pledge to engage in this movement. To connect with an expert on this topic, engage with Dr Tam Yat-Hung, Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Hong Kong. His practice is mainly focused on epidemiological investigation of disease outbreak and implementation of control and preventive measures with expertise in public health education.

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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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