A project sponsored by the EU entitled ‘Vaccines and InfecTious diseases in the Ageing popuLation’ (VITAL) has been launched to address the challenges posed by infections in the elderly and the potential of infections to be prevented by vaccination. University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands will be the managing entity and scientific lead and the project will run from 2019-23.
The idea is that the project will take a multidisciplinary public-private approach that will generate health, economic and societal benefits by mapping the disease burden of infectious diseases to be prevented by vaccines, investigate immunity to infections and vaccinations in the ageing population, calculate the clinical and economic consequences of possible vaccination strategies in different age and risk groups, and develop teaching tools for stakeholders.
Consortium academic leader Professor Dr Debbie van Baarle explains more: “An ageing immune system is known to cause increased infection rates in elderly people. Prevention of infectious diseases in the elderly through vaccination is a requirement to promote healthy ageing in this growing population. Our main challenge, in close collaboration with our European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries Associations partners, is to overcome the reduced immune responsiveness of this age group by improving the efficacy of vaccines and to identify new vaccination strategies to protect elderly people from infectious diseases.”