Adult immunisation in the UK

October 2018

General Practitioners

Country of origin: UK

A new report examines the UK adult immunisation policy framework in light of new European research conducted by SAATI (Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation).

SAATI is a voluntary, pan-European partnership of individuals, from a variety of backgrounds including clinicians, health promotion experts and industry among others, who have coalesced around a shared commitment to tackle low public awareness of the risk and burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

In November 2013, SAATI published, ‘Adult vaccination: a key component of healthy ageing. Benefits of life-course immunisation in Europe’. Seven vaccine-preventable diseases were focussed on: flu, pneumonia, herpes zoster, invasive pneumococcal disease, pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus.

This report, ‘Immune response. Adult immunisation in the UK’, incorporates evidence emerging from the SAATI report but takes a UK perspective on the findings. A focus group involving key experts from the immunisation policy landscape in the UK, including those involved in front-line delivery informed findings. This report has been funded through an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer International Operations.

The case for adult immunisation as set out in the report includes:

Vaccination has an instrumental role to play as a preventative public health intervention, within broader healthy ageing strategies,
A greater focus on the vaccination of older adults is particularly important due to immunosenescence, antimicrobial resistance and global migration,
There is strong evidence regarding the cost effectiveness of adult immunisation as a public health intervention; utility of immunisation as a cost effective measure was found for four of the seven vaccine-preventable diseases within the EU SAATI report, while for the other three vaccines, a lack of studies meant that this analysis could not be undertaken.

The report highlights a number of policy recommendations that include:

• Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA’s) should take a life-course approach to Immunisation,
• Health and Wellbeing Boards should ensure that that life-course vaccination is adequately considered as part of health planning andb commissioning,
• Commissioning arrangements for immunisation should support the uptake of adult vaccination.

The report provides a strong rationale for adopting a life-course approach to immunisation within the context of healthy ageing.

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