As WHO, CEPI, and Gavi meet and consider how best to manage the planning and deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine, we feel the voice of older adults, one of the most vulnerable, important, and essential groups should feature prominently in the COVAX process. In keeping with COVAX’s stated goal of equity, we the undersigned recommend:
- Prioritizing development of a COVID-19 vaccine that elicits a strong immune response in older adults, going beyond the stated minimum efficacy in the target product profile efficacy. To this end, recruitment of older adults in the development process is essential.
- Including a broader range of stakeholders focused on older adults both within and outside of the immunization and health sector on COVAX working groups to represent important perspectives relevant to low and middle-income countries, particularly for vulnerable populations.
- Supporting efforts to evaluate current preparedness of health systems and other channels to safely deliver a COVID-19 vaccine specifically to those most vulnerable.
- Gavi should consider support for influenza vaccines for older populations now to gain experience immunizing older groups and other vulnerable populations to protect them against further impact due to COVID-19. Global partners should also prioritize support for certain countries to strengthen their program.
These key recommendations are proposed as being part of the solution, and we strongly believe many hands and minds across sectors and disciplines are required to successfully deploy vaccines to older adults.
Download statement here.