Updates from the International Federation on Ageing
UN IDOP Side Event:
End Immunisation Inequality toward Healthy Ageing
The International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) was established in order to raise awareness about issues affecting older adults of the global population. This year’s theme “The Journey to Age Equality” was used to address pathways of coping with existing, and preventing future, old age inequalities.  

To celebrate IDOP, the IFA convened a side event “End Immunisation Inequality toward Healthy Ageing” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 11th October. The purpose was to bring a life course approach to vaccines to a global forum in order to promote universal health care for all. Celebrations included presentations and a panel discussion with leading experts on the topic of older adult influenza vaccination.
Consensus Statement - Uniting Diverse Groups to Improve Adult Influenza Vaccination in Canada
The IFA-led “Adult Influenza Vaccination: Calling Canadian Patient Organizations to Action” meeting brought together experts and thought leaders across diverse disciplines and sectors. The aim of the meeting was to improve and mobilize knowledge on the importance of influenza vaccination for at-risk populations and identify opportunities to help build capacity to influence policy across Canada, working toward equal opportunity.

The IFA, together with experts and leaders from Canadian patient and advocacy organizations represented at the meeting released a consensus statement outlining six key considerations to increasing adult vaccination uptake rates in Canada. Read the statement to learn more.
Immunisation for All Ages Summit
From 5-6 June 2019, the “Immunisation for All Ages Summit” was convened, gathering experts and thought leaders from regional and global organizations, patient and advocacy organizations and academia, to strengthen the dialogue around a life course approach to vaccination as part of a broader health promotion and prevention strategy. 

Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the IFA chaired the Summit, which proved to be a unique platform to form strategic actions to promote immunisation for all ages. Participants came to the agreement that bodies of work such as the World Health Assembly 73 and the broader framework of the WHO should be explored to increase vaccination uptake rates. Read the executive summary to learn more.
World Coalition on Adult Vaccination
Member Updates
Tech Companies in the Spotlight Amid Measles Outbreaks
 Submitted by Gary Finnegan, Vaccines Today
Search engines and social networks are stepping up efforts to curb the impact of anti-vaccine content. Some, like Pinterest, are working with the WHO Vaccine Safety Net group of trustworthy vaccination websites to help users find high-quality content when they search for answers about immunisation.

Others – notably Facebook and YouTube – are making anti-vaccine content harder to find (without blocking it entirely) and preventing people from making money by spreading anti-scientific information. 
Executives from Facebook and Mozilla, a search engine, were among the high-level participants in the first Global Vaccination Summit hosted by the EU and WHO in Brussels in September. The event came as four European countries lost their measles-free status in the wake of outbreaks across the continent. Vaccines Today Editor, Gary Finnegan, appeared on Euronews (a 24-hour news channel) to discuss how to reverse this unwelcome trend.  

Vaccines Today has been putting the spotlight on flu as the winter approach. The website posted an article about the role of pharmacists in protecting vulnerable citizens from flu and featured an IFA report that explored the wider benefits of influenza vaccination – a piece which proved popular on social media. 
Adult Vaccination in Greece
Submitted by Liz Mestheneos, 50plus Hellas
Adult vaccination in Greece is at a relatively low level based on international standards, although there has been an improvement in recent years. Indicatively, according to epidemiological data from the National Public Health Organization, 154 people died from an influenza virus infection during the 2018-2019 influenza surveillance period. At the same time, 374 people were hospitalized in intensive care units from the same infection.

In Greece , vaccine coverage for adults, even for older people belonging to high-risk groups, is inadequate. According to official data from the Ministry of Health, 26.3% of the population over the age of 75 has never been vaccinated.

In the context of protecting public health, the Ministry of Health notifies the relevant bodies of the National Adult Vaccination Program and publishes it on its official website for implementation. In addition, scientific bodies, associations of health professionals and companies active in the health field call on their members to take action to inform citizens about adult vaccination.

Vaccines listed in the National Adult Vaccination Program by the Ministry of Health are free. The insured person goes to their doctor, who prescribes them, and with the prescription they go to the pharmacy where they are provided by the pharmacist free of charge. Uninsured people are supposed to make an appointment with a doctor for prescription in any public health structure, i.e. in public hospitals and health centers and are then given the injection free of charge in a pharmacy. Unfortunately, there are difficulties in getting a timely appointment with a doctor in the Public health system. In order to overcome these difficulties, many municipalities that have municipal clinics and available days with doctors services, offer free appointments to the uninsured people. 
The Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination
Submitted by Anna Swierczyna, the Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination
The Steering Group on Influenza is a unique initiative that brings together policymakers, academics, healthcare professionals and patient representatives with a common goal to unify the community around the shared policy goals in influenza vaccination policies.

Over 200 Pan-European, national and international organisations and individuals have signed on to the Steering Group's European Manifesto on Influenza Vaccination.

This year, the Steering Group on Influenza Vaccination has released a brochure to raise awareness of the importance of influenza vaccination. Visit the website http://eufightingflu.com/ to learn more.
Massive Open Online Course on Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Submitted by Gaetan Gavazzi, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble
To accept the use of vaccines for preventing ill health is a complex interaction between knowledge, perception, myths and our own realities about both vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) and the benefits of vaccines. It is therefore critical that health care professionals gain the evolution of knowledge regarding both VPDs and related vaccines. 

Vaccines are not only devoted to preventing diseases but also complications of the diseases that are not well known. Flu, as an example, is often assumed as a simple, non-threatening disease for many of us including health care professionals, yet each year in Europe, more than 50 thousand older people die within the 3 month-period after getting the flu. 

France is among one of the world champions of hesitancy regarding vaccines. As the flu vaccine campaign begins, it is time to improve knowledge of health care professionals, because they are the ones who motivate their patients to be vaccinated, modify their knowledge, misconceptions and perceptions of the diseases and the vaccines. 

For these reasons, a group of experts in France built a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on VPDs and vaccines in ageing populations which includes 30 minute videos each week for a total of eight weeks. The MOOC will start at the end of October. Learn more and watch the video teaser by visiting the website.
Generations United's Valuing Vaccinations Across Generations is going strong in Japan
Submitted by Alan King, Generations United
Generations United’s Valuing Vaccinations Across Generations campaign is an international effort that promotes vaccinations through a lifespan approach by providing tools and resources to encourage intergenerational conversations. 

The campaign team in Japan ( www.ikouyo-vaccine.com) – led by the Japan Intergenerational Unity Association (JIUA) who’s working with other partners, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (TMIG) – is expanding partnerships with older adult care and health-related organizations. They continue to promote their materials at public seminars, conferences, and a training program. They have reached over 8,000 people to date. Additionally, the team in Japan developed a recurring educational program for active senior groups. They also promoted the campaign in a paper for the Journal of Japan Society for Intergenerational Studies. 

Generations United launched the campaign in 2016 with The Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics to highlight the importance of immunizations across the lifespan. 

The campaign in the U.S. is producing compelling and shareable content to educate policy makers about the impact of adult vaccinations on all ages. That impact hits home with Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance of Strong Families and Communities: “Keeping current on my vaccinations is protecting my grandchildren, and I would do anything for them.” Learn more at bandAGEofhonor.org.
The Immunisation Coalition
Submitted by Kim Sampson, Immunisation Coalition
The Immunisation Coalition (IC) is Australia’s leading voice in whole-of-life immunisation. It is a not for profit advocacy group with a mission to create awareness about the importance of immunisation, and that immunisation still provides the best protection against infectious diseases. The IC works with health professionals and organisations with an interest in immunisation (including government health agencies), ensuring that the information provided to consumers is current, easily understood and scientifically informed.
In September of this year the IC undertook a national media campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of influenza vaccination in the age group 50+ in order to actively prevent heart attacks. Evidence from several studies indicate that annual vaccination against seasonal influenza reduces cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular conditions. Studies indicate that the influenza vaccine almost halves the risk of heart attacks in older adults. GPs who treat individuals with cardiovascular disease can help improve influenza vaccination coverage rates by asking about vaccination status, strongly recommending and providing vaccination to their patients before and throughout the influenza season.
By communicating the benefits of influenza vaccination for people aged 50+, media became engaged and the call to action seemed to find traction.
The Doctor with a Plan to Mobilise Vaccine Champions
 Submitted by Gary Finnegan, Vaccines Today
Also big on the @VaccinesToday Twitter account this month is the story of a US-based paediatrician who was subject to an online attack by anti-vaccine groups. Dr Todd Wolynn decided to push back, creating a toolkit and action plan to help give health professionals the confidence to communicate about vaccination online. 

The video interview with Dr Wolynn was recorded in late September at the Fondation Merieux Vaccine Acceptance conference in Annecy, France. Watch this space for a new series of video interviews and companion blog posts to be published before the end of the year. 

*Bonus article: Have you ever wondered how political views influence attitudes to vaccination ? Political scientists in Australia have been working to answer this question and gave a video interview to Vaccines Today to coincide with publication of their new research paper. 
Colombia: Influenza Vaccines
 Submitted by Jackie Kaufman, Vaccine Ambassadors
Mass migration has put a strain on existing healthcare systems in the Andean subregion leading to significant challenges in meeting basic immunization needs. Over 4 million people in Venezuela alone have migrated to neighboring countries in search of a more equitable future. “Countries in the Americas have demonstrated regional solidarity in providing support for migrants, but the high demand for health services coupled with a lack of resources and the re-emergence of previously eliminated diseases such as measles has put pressure on health care systems to meet the health needs of migrants while also meeting the needs of local populations,” states the Pan American Health Organization.

In April, Vaccine Ambassadors, along with other international partners supported the purchase of influenza vaccines for Colombia in an effort to assist with the greater influx of people in need of immunization services. Learn more here.
Upcoming Events
Vaccines4Life Summit
31 October 2020
Niagara Falls, Canada
In advance of the IFA 15th Global Conference on Ageing, the IFA will host the Vaccines4Life Summit, a full day program that aims to inform the global agenda for a life course approach to adult vaccination. Key objectives of the summit include:
  • Understand the public impact of vaccine preventable diseases;
  • Inspire change through examples of good practice; and
  • Galvanize action through targeted communication strategies.
IFA Expert Meetings

Influencing Policy to Improve Adult Vaccination in Germany
3-4 December
Munich, Germany
A Forum to Explore the Role of Patient Organizations in Vaccination
6 December, London UK
Vaccination in France: Changing the Public Perception
Lyon, France
9-10 December
Follow the IFA Vaccines4Life