Prioritizing Vaccination in At-Risk Groups
Outcomes of the Belfast and Stockholm Meetings on Adult Vaccination
This past fall, the IFA held meetings in Belfast, United Kingdom (6-7 September 2018) and Stockholm, Sweden (11-12 October 2018, in collaboration with the Swedish Heart and Lung Association) to raise the profile of adult vaccination in disease-specific groups including people with diabetes and people with heart and lung conditions.
Both meetings brought together experts in diverse fields including ageing, vaccination, public health, diabetes and heart and lung conditions, along with disease-specific patient organizations, to raise awareness of the seriousness of vaccine-preventable diseases and highlight the preventive role of vaccination in maintaining health.
While each meeting focused on distinct patient groups, there was significant intersection in the barriers needing to be addressed to improve adult vaccination awareness and uptake.
Barriers to Adult Vaccination
Resulting from the Belfast and Stockholm meetings, the following barriers were indicated as presenting a challenge to increasing adult vaccination uptake rates in at-risk groups:
- Lack of vaccination knowledge on the part of patients, healthcare professionals and policy makers;
- Lack of discussion between patients and healthcare professionals on adult vaccination;
- Inconsistent messaging around vaccination;
- Ambiguity in vaccination guidelines;
- Misinformation about the importance of vaccination to at-risk groups.
Proposed Strategies for Increasing Adult Vaccination Rates
Each meeting also examined strategies to improve vaccination uptake in people with diabetes and heart and lung conditions. These approaches are already underway and will continue to build momentum in collaboration with partners throughout 2019.
- Multi-stakeholder collaboration;
- Increased usage of traditional and social media for targeted adult vaccination campaigns;
- Investment in understanding the level of at-risk patients’ awareness of vaccination;
- Enhanced education of healthcare professionals on the importance of vaccination and the value of conveying vaccination information to patients.
Much can be learned from the dialogue and resulting initiatives of the Belfast and Stockholm meetings. These meetings provided in-depth insight into the level of awareness of vaccination in specific patient groups, and the commitment to improving the knowledge base of these groups in an effort to enhance awareness and ultimately increase adult vaccination uptake rates.
To further explore the outcomes of these beneficial meetings, read the Belfast and Sweden reports: