Vaccination among the elderly: European state of art and the need for a culture shift

E.R. Villani, G. Colloca, S. Valente, R. Bernabei

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Polo Invecchiamento, Neuroscienze, Testa-Collo ed Ortopedia, Fondazione Policlinico A. Gemelli, Rome, Italy

Background: since the development of the first vaccine, immunization has been shown to be one of the most effective public health measures to prevent diseases. Vaccination policy is currently mainly focused on the young (aged below 18), to some extent the old (aged above 65) but, in contrast to childhood immunization programs, adult vaccination is not considered to be a routine health intervention.

Methods: a PubMed research was performed using elderly and vaccination policy as key words.

Conclusions: vaccination in adults remains an underused public health strategy in the promotion of healthy ageing, and adult vaccination rates are still far below the target. Influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and pneumococcal invasive disease, pertussis and even HZV (because of a high incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia among the elderly) have been highlighted as the most important diseases for which is important to look after immunization strategies due to their burden related to deaths or disabilities. Investing € 1 in adult immunization can generate over € 4 of future economic revenue for government.

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