Adult and elderly vaccines, less coverage but new attention in the Covid era

A drop in vaccination coverage for ‘no Covid’ diseases, but also greater attention to the vaccination tool, seen as a hope and solution against the pandemic, and to the organization of campaigns. These are some of the ‘lessons’ that we will be able to inherit, in the field of adult and elderly immunization, of the Covid experience. The topic was discussed during the webinar ‘Immunization strategies of the adult-elderly: what can we learn from the Covid-19 experience?’, Organized by HappyAgeing-Italian Alliance for active aging and realized with the non-conditioning contribution of Gsk , Msd, Pfizer and Seqirus. Last October HappyAgeing had already presented a position paper on immunizations, making precise requests that today, in the light of the experience of recent months, are enriched by an ‘Instant Paper’, a series of ideas that will then be included in a new and more updated document, but which has already been presented to the media and institutions today so that we can play in advance to get ready for autumn and so that we can concretely follow up in Italy the global strategy dictated by the World Health Organization in 2030 Vaccination Agenda: The Covid-19 pandemic for over a year has changed the lives of everyone and in particular of the elderly and the ‘frail’. He has brought health, science, virus containment policies and therefore also the issue of vaccinations to the center of every policy and communication activity. “But there were other effects, less visible and less communicated – said Michele Conversano, president of the Scientific Committee of HappyAgeing – but equally important: for one season the circulation of the flu virus was strongly contained, thanks to an extraordinary adhesion to the campaign. vaccination and thanks to the precautions taken by the entire population, an absolutely positive fact, but which, on the other hand, was accompanied by a general inattention to other immunizations, such as that for herpes zoster, pneumococcus, tetanus or pertussis ” . All this, Conversano continued, “together with a climate that is not yet positive towards vaccines and a poor perception of the risks associated with infection, could be paid dearly in the near future, unless the acquired experience and to use it immediately “. Over the past few months, Conversano specified, HappyAgeing, through the members of the Alliance, has observed what has happened in terms of vaccination organization throughout the territory and today makes extremely practical suggestions summarized in 7 requests in the ‘Instant Paper’. “In a nutshell, the watchwords are: 1) active call for vaccines by the Regions; 2) moving from attention to only the over 65s to a broader concept of ‘frail adult’, including those affected by chronic diseases, situations of multi-morbidity and social vulnerability; 3) take advantage of what happened with Covid and bring vaccinations permanently even out of the clinic where it is possible to do it safely, even using the infrastructures set up for the pandemic; 4) provide for the vaccination obligation for health workers as has already been done by some Regions. “5) promote greater organization in the supply of vaccines, also anticipating the prevention and control of seasonal flu by the Ministry of Health; 6) organize communication in order to avoid contradictory or difficult to understand messages; 7) use the vaccination registry system effectively set up for Covid also for all the other vaccinations now included in the National Vaccine Prevention Plan. “On this last point HappyAgeing had already pointed out in the past a serious deficiency: up to now in Italy we are not able to know at what level the vaccination coverage of adults for pneumococcus and zoster is, and in order to be able to correctly carry out this monitoring it is suggested the creation of a ‘monitoring body’ which may perhaps also include those represents the elderly population, such as the trade unions of the pensioners of CGIL, CISL and UIL.

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