Commemorating the 
International Day of Older Persons
The IFA is delighted to acknowledge the UN International Day of Older Persons through showcasing blogs on the preeminent work being done by the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination.  

The Coalition is a network of organizations dedicated to increasing adult vaccination uptake rates, and to bringing attention to the increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases faced by older people and at-risk groups. 

The theme of  2017 International Day of Older Persons is "Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society."  This theme focuses on the importance of enabling older people to do what they value through collaboration to preserve functional ability.  Vaccination against preventable diseases is one way of promoting the health of older at-risk groups so that they can continue to fully and effectively participate. 

The IFA, along with the World Coalition, recognize that preservation of health is paramount to allowing older people the opportunity to contribute.  That is why we work toward improving adult vaccination uptake rates - so that older people are able to stay well longer, and continue to do what they value.
Blogs from the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination
Asociación Colombiana de Gerontología y Geriatría (ACGG)

Vaccines are one of the most important medical achievements in the history of humanity. They have saved millions of lives since first created, moreover in children.

Furthermore, with the demographic transition the number of adults over 65 years has increased as well. Both of the mentioned populations are at great risk of acquiring infections and suffering complications, which ultimately can lead to death.

In older adults, vaccination has shown important benefits, such as reducing mortality, reducing morbidity, as well as increasing the quality of life. Vaccination is both inexpensive and easy to perform and leads to large benefits for the population in general.

Increasing vaccination coverage is fundamental for saving lives and preventing diseases in the time to come. This kind of forward thinking will also make for a better distribution of resources in the future, and should therefore be a priority for the population at large.

That is why the Asociación Colombiana de Gerontología y Geriatría (ACGG) leads a new culture of aging in Colombia, encouraging vaccination in older adults as a fundamental pillar within health care and as the main axis in all academic meetings with the goal of promoting healthy aging.
Bridging the Gap

No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.

H.E. Luccock's quote on collaboration speaks to the importance of knowledge platforms that bring together experts, pool resources, and share ideas.
 
Generations United leveraged the benefits of collaboration by launching our awareness campaign, Valuing Vaccinations Across Generations.
 
Generations United launched the campaign in 2016 with The Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics to bridge the importance of immunizations within segmented groups into an intergenerational conversation within families and among different generations.
 
In its first year, the campaign reached over 32 million readers and listeners as well as an audience of more than 5.2 million through Twitter and Facebook.
 
This year, we amplified our awareness-raising efforts internationally by expanding our work with teams led by the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (TMIG) in Japan and the University of Granada - Business Sector Foundation in Spain.
 
The campaign team in Japan continues to share its message through Manga cartoons and translated content on its website, leaflets and social media. They're expanding partnerships and building off their successful grassroots strategy through presentations and direct outreach in communities.
 
In Spain, the campaign team is recruiting participants to continue a study on vaccine beliefs and attitudes. A team led by researchers at the University of Granada will train older adults to go into schools to educate young people about vaccines.
 
In the U.S., Valuing Vaccinations Across Generations continues to produce compelling and shareable content including new memes about the critical importance of vaccinations across generations. To celebrate the country's Grandparents Day, we partnered with the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs to produce and disseminate a placemat encouraging conversations between young and old on the value of vaccines.
 
Visit bandAGEofhonor.org to learn more.
International Longevity Centre - UK

For too many, immunisation is 'just for kids'; a few jabs for toddlers and school children and a begrudged necessity when travelling to certain parts of the world. It is not viewed as the one aspect of a healthy lifestyle which does not require us to abstain from a vice, work up a sweat or check a label for a food's fat and calorie content.


We know that adult vaccination is cost effective. Of the 7 vaccine preventable diseases examined by the SAATI (Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation) coalition in the 2013 report,
Adult Vaccination: A Key Component of Healthy Ageing, influenza alone costs the UK economy more than £1 billion pounds per year in lost productivity due to staff sick leave. Analysis from the Netherlands has concluded that every 1 Euro invested in adult vaccination commencing at the age of 50 years would yield more than 4 Euros of future economic revenue for Government. However, at a time when the UK's National Health Service is committed to achieving an efficiency saving of £22 billion between 2015 and 2020, in the minds of far too many, immunisation is 'just for kids'.

Thankfully, there are committed charities and NGOs around the world advocating for greater awareness of the benefits of adult immunisation, and access to potentially life-saving vaccines throughout the life course. However, it is vital that these organisations have access to the right resources to ensure that policymakers are aware of the benefits of adult immunisation.

The International Longevity Centre - UK has created the
European Adult Immunisation Hub to provide the resources necessary to convince policymakers across Europe of the case for investing in adult immunisation. The Hub is regularly updated with research, social media resources, case studies and interviews with medical practitioners and healthcare professionals.

Dave Eaton
Policy and Public Affairs Manager, ILC-UK
Davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk
National Institute of Geriatrics Mexico

Although vaccination has been long regarded as a public health strategy for children, in the past decades the development of new vaccines and the better understanding of old ones has led to the recognition of the importance of vaccination throughout the life course, even in old age. The World Health Organization, the International Federation on Ageing and other fellow organizations are now advocating for vaccination coverage for older adults across the globe.

Vaccination can be a powerful strategy for promoting healthy aging, not only by its direct effects on reducing the morbidity and mortality risks derived from selected infectious disease among vaccinated older persons, but also by indirect effects which include the reduction of health stressors that may result in lower morbidity and mortality from selected non-communicable diseases. Furthermore, vaccination may promote healthy ageing by reducing the allostatic load accumulated derived from preventable infectious diseases throughout the life course from an early age and onwards.

Mexico has developed a successful vaccination platform which was initially aimed at children, but now extends to adults and older persons as well. Most vaccines are provided free to all who request them everywhere in the country, according to their age and medical condition. Coverage rates are comparable to those of more developed countries. However, in the specific case of older persons, only Td, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are provided in Mexico, while new vaccines that have proven to be useful in older persons, such as herpes zoster and hepatitis B, have been left out so far.

Additionally, in the current setting of the Mexican health care system, further strengthening the vaccination platform may also be an opportunity to articulate the delivery of different health services, while at the same time promoting the integration of the system.
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Geriatrie und Gerontologie
(Austrian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology)

Knowledge sharing is a key driver for Capacity Development both on donors' side and on the aid recipient's side.  It facilitates exchange on practices and messages that promote ownership, change and results
This statement was launched by a huge Pan-European project (capacity4dev.eu) a few years ago. Connecting experts to share ideas and build capacity for innovation and research is a hallmark for sustainable change management.

Austria, although rich and staffed with a modern health and social care system with national recommendations on vaccination, still lacks a focus on prevention in the oldest old and frail population. Furthermore, national screening programmes and databases on preventive measures in the older population are still missing in our country.

In this context the launch of a new platform on adult vaccination, soon to be released by the International Federation of Ageing (IFA), is highly appreciated by experts in the field of ageing (public health, clinical practice and research) and will help to foster prevention programmes across the globe. Congrats from Austria/ Europe!

Updates from the International Federation on Ageing
'Adult Vaccination: A Public Health Priority' Expert Meeting (London, UK) - Strengthening Connections to At-Risk Groups in Adult Vaccination
The IFA in collaboration with ILC-UK recently hosted the Adult Vaccination: A Public Health Priority meeting in London, United Kingdom focusing on at-risk older populations. 

The aim of this meeting was to bring together experts in the fields of public health, vaccines, gerontology and geriatrics, ageing, and non-communicable diseases to discuss the inclusion of at-risk populations, such as COPD, diabetes, and asthma, in the vaccination conversation, and to strategize on ways to improve adult vaccination uptake rates. 

All contributions examined how barriers such as inequalities in vaccine access, patient perceptions of their need to be vaccinated, variation in what is defined as a successful vaccine program for older people, low awareness of the existence of vaccines, and lack of cohesive messaging about the importance of being vaccinated, can be addressed to raise awareness of adult vaccination and increase uptake rates. 

A report on the outcomes of the expert meeting will be available in late 2017, but for further insight into the meeting, please click here to read a comprehensive blog post.
Adult Vaccination at the IFA 14th Global Conference
 Register and submit your abstracts today!

The IFA is seeking those interested in vaccination, ageing, and non-communicable diseases to submit abstracts to the 14th Global Conference.  The work being done at the intersections of these fields will be comprehensively showcased at the Conference, with a stream dedicated to adult vaccination.  For those who are interested, please find important information about submission deadlines by clicking here

The goal of dialogue during the conference is to capture and synthesize knowledge, new ideas and innovation around improving rates of adult vaccination in light of the significant impact of vaccine-preventable diseases on older people, specifically those with co-morbid conditions.
 
The IFA values the participation of the World Coalition and other interested agencies and people in helping to shape this agenda, and hopes to provide an important platform for healthy discussions and debates through substantive presentations at the 14th Global Conference.  For more information visit  www.ifa2018.com.
If you are an NGO, academic, scientist or government decision maker working in the field of adult vaccination, ageing and public health and would like to learn more about the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination, please contact  Ms Jessica Rochman-Fowler at jrochman-fowler@ifa-fiv.org .

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