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Adult vaccine uptake needs improving

Think tank sets out immunisation strategy

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A new report, by a leading think tank on longevity and demographic change calls for improvements in adult vaccine uptake.

In its report: Immune Response, The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), argues that vaccination remains an underused public health strategy for adults in the UK and across Europe.

The report, published today, highlights new evidence, presented by Supporting Active Ageing Through Immunisation (SAATI) last week in Brussels which found cost effectiveness evidence for vaccination of older people in relation to herpes zoster, influenza, invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia.

The SAATI report presented a framework to evaluate investments in health from a government perspective revealing that every €1 invested in adult vaccination commencing at the age of 50 years would yield €4.02 of future economic revenue for government over the lifetime of the cohort.

Among the thirty plus recommendations set out in today’s report, are the following:

  • The piloting of a voucher scheme for those eligible for the seasonal flu vaccine for use in GP surgeries and registered pharmacies.
  • For GPs to be permitted to privately prescribe approved vaccinations (in addition to travel vaccines) to their patients.
  • A call for Public Health England and the Department of Health to review whether the current approach to the vaccination of social care workforce in England is appropriate.
  • The QOF to include an annual check on the immunisation status of all GP registered patients.
  • For healthcare professionals to check whether their patients are up to date with their vaccines.

Other proposals included the introduction of an adult vaccination record card which could be carried throughout a lifetime, a simplified adult vaccination checklist for the over 18s and for people to be encouraged to carry their immunisation history with their passports.

ILC-UK also calls upon the Prime Minister’s Behavioural Insight Unit (“Nudge Unit”) to explore the potential to use behavioural economics to improve take-up of vaccinations amongst adults including the aim of creating a social norm of adult vaccination (beyond flu) through an investment in communications.

Commenting on the report, Baroness Sally Greengross, ILC-UK chief executive said: “The growth of antibiotic resistance, the challenges of immunosenescence and the context of migration mean that we need to put greater focus on improving uptake of adult vaccinations in the UK.”

David Sinclair, assistant director, policy and communications at ILC-UK added: “We need an informed consumer who knows what vaccinations they need across their life. An adult vaccination record card for all is vital.”

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing says nurses are ideally placed to lead the move towards improved adult vaccination in the UK.

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