New Coalition Calls for More Effective Adult Immunisation Strategies During European Union’s 2012 Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations
PARIS, January 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
An expert group of European public health advocates and professionals has created a dedicated partnership entitled SAATI - Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation - to encourage comprehensive adult immunisation policies in order to reduce the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases in Europe.
A newly-formed group of key European partners – SAATI (Supporting Active Ageing
Through Immunisation) announced their commitment to tackle low public awareness of the
risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in older adults.
To view the SAATI Consensus Statement on Barriers & Call to Action, please click:
During the European Union’s (EU) 2012 Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between
Generations, SAATI will engage with policy makers and other stakeholders to examine how
vaccination, as a prevention strategy, should be part of an age-based health approach
throughout all phases of life. Currently, vaccination policy is patchy and mainly
considers the very young, the very old or those in at-risk groups.
“We are taking advantage of the EU’s focus on Active Ageing to underline the need to
review European policies, practices and communication around adult vaccination,” stated
Professor Javier Garau, SAATI Chair and former President of ESCMID. “Vaccination is a
particularly relevant health strategy for adults since the immune system weakens as we get
older, and this increases our risk of contracting serious yet vaccine-preventable
diseases, such as flu and pneumococcal disease. In addition, the symptoms and impact of
these diseases are often poorly understood by the general public. Unlike with infants,
there are no comprehensive or consistent guidelines for adult immunisation, and we believe
this is one of the major barriers to reducing preventable and sometimes fatal illnesses.”
Across Europe, pneumonia alone is estimated to cost over 10 billion Euros in direct
and indirect costs annually. This should be a concern for European policy makers, not
only because of Europe’s ageing society but equally due to pressures all governments are
facing to better manage the costs of healthcare and social welfare.
“Immunisation is not just for children, but is essential across the life course. We
need to normalise immunisation as an important part of healthy ageing. Comprehensive adult
vaccination strategies would significantly reduce the incidence and burden to individuals,
employers and healthcare systems,” said Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive of the
International Longevity Centre, United Kingdom.
The EU has identified healthy ageing as a societal challenge common to all European
countries. As such, it has designated 2012 as the Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity
between Generations. This year will provide the opportunity to further investigate the
role of prevention and health management strategies for older adults to enable them to
maintain an active role in society.
At an inaugural planning meeting on 27-28 October 2011, SAATI partners met to share
their views and insights on what constitutes the main barriers to effective immunisation
programmes for adults in Europe. Despite a broad consensus by EU Health Ministers on the
value of vaccines, adult immunisation rates remain highly unpredictable and variable.
SAATI will be working with a range of other partners to better understand the root causes
and propose policy-related solutions for the future.
SAATI is a voluntary partnership of European partners who have an interest in
improving the health of citizens as they grow older, and reducing the incidence of illness
through effective immunisation. The partners include representatives from different
perspectives, including clinicians, health promotion experts, advocacy groups, nurses,
industry, think tanks and healthy ageing specialists. The group has come together with a
commitment to tackle low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable
diseases, such as pneumococcal disease, in adults. The consensus statement
[http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/prne/SAATI/53748 ] resulted from the European
stakeholder meeting on the Value of and Barriers to Adult Vaccination organised and funded
SAATI aims to:
- Increase public and policy maker awareness of the need for adult vaccinations to combat vaccine-preventable diseases, such as flu, pneumonia, invasive pneumococcal disease, pertussis, diphtheria, herpes zoster and tetanus - Leverage EU Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations to promote better public health communication on the value of vaccines and the need for supportive age-based national health policies
- Prof. Javier Garau - SAATI Chair and former President of ESCMID; Associate Prof. of Medicine, University of Barcelona; Head of Department of Medicine, Hospital Universitari Mutua de Terrassa, Barcelona - Spain - Mr. David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications, The International Longevity Centre - UK - Prof. Roberto Bernabei, Head of Geriatric Institute of Catholic University - Rome; President, Agency for Healthy Ageing - Italy - Prof. Hartmut M Lode, Head, Research Centre for Medical Studies, Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin-Germany - Dr. Jean-Paul Stahl, Head of Infectious Disease Dept, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble - France - Ms. Michele Lawrence, Consultant Nurse in Health Protection & Director MMidas LTD - UK - Prof. David Taylor, University of London School of Pharmacy - Public Health & Policy - UK - Dr. Daphne Holt, Vice President, Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (COMO) - Ms. Christine Rolland, Vice President, European Federation Of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA) - Dr. Ian Banks, President, European Men's Health Forum (EMHF) - Ms. Hildrun Sundseth, Member of the Board, The European Institute of Women's Health (EIWH) - Ms. Katharina Braun, Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Senioren-Organisationen e.V. (BAGSO), Bonn - Germany - Ms. Sylvie St-Laurent, Senior Director, International Public Affairs, Pfizer PIO
About the European Year for Active Ageing & Solidarity between Generations
2012 is the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. This
year provides a platform for policy-makers and stakeholders to reflect on how Europeans
are living longer and staying healthier than ever before – and to realise the
opportunities it represents for them to:
- stay in the workforce and share their experience - keep playing an active role in society - live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.
It is also key to maintaining solidarity between generations in societies with rapidly
increasing numbers of older people.
The challenge for politicians and stakeholders will be to improve opportunities for
active ageing in general and for living independently, acting in areas as diverse as
employment, health care, social services, adult learning, volunteering, housing, IT
services or transport.
The European Year seeks to raise awareness of the issues and the best ways of dealing
with them. But most of all it seeks to encourage all policymakers and stakeholders to set
themselves goals and take action to meet them. 2012 should go beyond debating; it should
start bringing tangible results.
For Further Information:
http://europa.eu/ey2012/ [http://europa.eu/ey2012 ]
1) Welte T. et al. Clinical and economic burden of community-acquired pneumonia in adults. Thorax. 2012;(67):71-79.