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 (email@example.com).
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.