The public health value of vaccination for seniors in Europe

Volume 36, Issue 19  Pages 2501-2742 (3 May 2018)

The public health value of vaccination for seniors in Europe
Review article
Pages 2523-2528
Susanna Esposito, Elisabetta Franco, Gaetan Gavazzi, Angel Gil de Miguel, … Jose Antonio López Trigo
Longer life expectancy and decreasing fertility rates mean that the proportion of older people is continually increasing worldwide, and particularly in Europe. Ageing is associated with an increase in the risk and severity of infectious diseases. These diseases are also more difficult to diagnose and manage in seniors who often have at least one comorbid condition (60% of seniors have two or more conditions). Infectious diseases increase the risk of hospitalization, loss of autonomy and death in seniors. Effective vaccines are available in Europe for infectious diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal diseases, herpes zoster, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Their effectiveness has been demonstrated in terms of reducing the rates of hospitalization, disability, dependency and death. The prevention of diseases in seniors also results in savings in healthcare and societal costs each year in Europe. Despite the availability of vaccines, vaccine-preventable diseases affect millions of European citizens annually, with the greatest burden of disease occurring in seniors, and the medical and economic benefits associated with are not being achieved. Vaccination coverage rates must be improved to achieve the full benefits of vaccination of seniors in Europe.