ILC-UK has been a member of the Support Active Ageing Through Immunisation (SAATI) coalition since its formation in late 2011. SAATI is a voluntary working body, established with the intention of promoting the development of improved adult immunisation strategies and policies across Europe – a goal around which leading public health advocates coalesced; with SAATI membership drawn from various backgrounds, including: academics, patient group leads, healthy ageing specialists and industry experts.
With the aim of impacting on EU policy debates around healthy ageing, the SAATI group commissioned a substantive research programme to be undertaken so as to produce a ‘report card’ on the state of adult immunisation within the EU. The ILC-UK was one of the authors of this report, leading on the policy review section.
The report card ‘Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing – Benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe’, was launched in the European Parliament on November 13th.
Findings of the SAATI report card make a stark case for the further promotion of adult immunisation as a public health intervention. For example, modelling on the fiscal impact of adult vaccination in the Netherlands revealed that based on the investment cost of vaccinating those at 50 in 2012, there would be over four euros of savings for every euro invested over the course of 50 years.
Alongside the SAATI report, ILC-UK produced a paper that drew on some of the key findings of the report card and applied them to analysis of the UK adult immunisation policy landscape. The report, ‘Immune Response. Adult Immunisation in the UK’, was also informed by a focus group that included leading academics and key experts from immunisation policy circles in the UK, including those involved in front-line delivery. The report includes a number of recommendations including; greater engagement of employers in supporting vaccination of older workers and a higher priority for adult immunisation within the new commissioning structures of the NHS.
The launch of ‘Immune Response‘ was covered by The Independent which ran a story on adult immunisation that commented on the findings and recommendations outlined in the UK report. The article argued that adult vaccination is now a ‘civic duty’, which to an extent encapsulates the policy messages that emanate from both reports. It dangerous to rest on our laurels on account of paediatric immunisation success, and allow complacency to undermine improved adult immunisation outcomes, the article is accessible here.
These reports are part of an on-going engagement by ILC-UK on the topic of adult immunisation. In 2011, ILC-UK also published, ‘Life Course Immunisation: Improving adult immunisation to support healthy ageing’. In 2009, ILC-UK, ILC-France and ILC-USA collaborated through the Alliance for Health and the Future to produce, ‘Life Course Vaccination – Impact of Life Course Vaccination on an Ageing Population’. In 2007, ILC-USA published an issue brief, ‘Immunizations – Not Just for Kids’. Advocating for a life course approach to adult immunisation is the consistent thread that runs throughout each of these publications.
The launch of ‘Immune Response’ at the Royal College of Nursing on Tuesday, November 19th, included a lively debate following speaker presentations, during which a number of the recommendations made in the report were discussed and developed further by certain members of the audience. It was agreed during the discussion that there is certainly scope for more examination of some of the ideas the report touches on. Do watch this space for further work on adult immunisation by ILC-UK.
Trinley Walker, ILC-UK