New Report From the American Federation for Aging Research and the Global Coalition on Aging Highlights Adult Vaccination as Critical Lever for Healthy Aging

Cross-sector experts discuss barriers and opportunities to increase vaccine uptake among adults, important insights taking on growing urgency amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

New York, NEW YORK (July 14, 2020) – The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and the Global Coalition on Aging today released a report, Adult Vaccinations: Opportunities for Action, Barriers to Engagement, Paths to Healthier Aging. The new report shares insights from an expert symposium hosted by the two organizations in late 2019 on the urgency of vaccinations for adults to promote healthy aging.

While the symposium took place before the novel coronavirus became known to the world, the expertise shared by the speakers about the individual and societal value of vaccines for older adults, the importance of vaccinations across the life course, and the challenges of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation is even more urgent today in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic as we look to a vaccine as the key to safeguarding the health of the global population and to allow countries around the world to safely restart their economies.

“The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on older adults and the urgent need for a vaccine are clear to all today,” said Stephanie Lederman, Executive Director of AFAR. “But what is garnering far less attention is the role that more widespread uptake of adult vaccines and more robust understanding of the aging immune system could have played in reducing the devastation of the current pandemic on the older population – and should play as we look to the future.”

Following the release of the report, AFAR and GCOA, along with Grantmakers in Aging, will host a joint webinar in September 2020, building on the report and offering a deeper dive on these insights and their implications in the COVID-19 era. The webinar, which will be open to the public, will convene experts from science and business for an interactive discussion exploring how the ideas shared in the report can offer a road map for us as we work to ensure a future of health, stability, and renewed economic growth. More details to follow.

“Today, governments, healthcare providers, employers, and decision makers around the world are looking for guidance on how to support the health and safety of their rapidly aging populations and the health of the economy in the COVID-19 era,” explained Michael Hodin, PhD, CEO of the Global Coalition and moderator of the symposium. “At last, vaccines for all ages, and particularly for adults, are being recognized as not just an important public health tool but as a powerful economic tool as well. We believe the insights from this report are even more critical to share with the world in this moment.”

Symposium Experts

  • James Appleby, Chief Executive Officer, Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
  • Nir Barzilai, MD, AFAR Deputy Scientific Director; Director, Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Richard Besdine, MD, AFAR Board Member; Professor, Geriatric Medicine; Professor, Health Services, Policy and Practice, Brown University
  • Todd A. Black, PhD, Executive Director, Infectious Diseases/Vaccines – Basic Research, Merck Research Laboratories
  • Sarah A. Chase, former Chief Operating Officer, Alda Communication Training Company
  • Harvey Jay Cohen, MD, AFAR Board Member; Professor of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Pinchas Cohen, PhD, AFAR grantee; Dean and Professor of Gerontology, Medicine and Biological Sciences, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • Ned David, PhD, AFAR Board Member; Co-Founder and President, Unity Biotech
  • Donald Edmondson, PhD, Director, Columbia University Science of Behavior Change Center
  • Mehmood Khan, MD, AFAR Board Member; Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Life Biosciences Inc.
  • George Kuchel, MD, FRCP, AGSF, Director and Chief of Geriatric Medicine, UConn Center on Aging
  • Nathan LeBrasseur, PhD, AFAR grantee; Consultant, Professor, and Co-Chair of Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic
  • Sean X. Leng, MD, PhD, AFAR 2006 Beeson Scholar; President, Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership (MMAAP) Foundation; Professor of Medicine and board-certified Geriatrician in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Bruce Troen, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo
  • Pol Vandenbroucke, MD, MSc, MBA, FFPM, AFAR Board Member; Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Hospital Business Unit
  • Terrie Fox Wetle, PhD, AFAR Board Member; Founding Dean, Brown University School of Public Health

About the American Federation for Aging Research

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) is a national non-profit organization that supports and advances pioneering biomedi­cal research that is revolutionizing how we live healthier and longer. For nearly four decades, AFAR has served as the field’s talent incubator, providing more than $181 million to more than 4,200 investigators at premier research institutions nationwide. A trusted leader and strategist, AFAR also works with public and private funders to steer high quality grant programs and interdisciplinary research networks. AFAR-funded researchers are finding that modifying basic cellular processes can delay—or even prevent—many chronic diseas­es, often at the same time. They are discovering that it is never too late—or too early—to improve health. This groundbreaking science is paving the way for innovative new therapies that promise to improve and extend our quality of life—at any age. Learn more at www.afar.org or follow AFARorg on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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