​​​​Global Coalition on Aging and Pfizer Medical Grants Partner to Tackle Vaccine Hesitancy in Super-Aging Japan

The unique partnership supports innovative research to increase use of recommended vaccines among Japan’s older adult population

New York, NEW YORK (February 17, 2021) – The Global Coalition on Aging and Pfizer Global Medical Grants announced today the launch of the first of its grant projects under the Japan-focused VALUE Initiative (Vaccines for All: Longevity Unleashed for Everyone), which has provided up to $1 million USD in grant awards. Grant recipients include Keio University, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI), and the International Longevity Centre-UK. The three VALUE projects are poised to generate critical insights for both policy and practice about how to increase vaccine use among older adults and to better understand vaccine hesitancy in the Japanese context. The VALUE Initiative and its grantees will together contribute important evidence of how to extend the benefits of immunization to older adults at a critical global moment where immunizing adults is central and essential to relief from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first VALUE project to launch, Moving the needle, Improving uptake of adult vaccination in Japan, is an innovative ethnographic initiative led by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC) and Stripe Partners.

“We are honored and delighted to see our first grantee – the ILC-UK and Stripe Partners – beginning work on their project, which is designed to increase the uptake of vaccinations for people aged 65 and over in Japan,” said Michael Hodin, CEO Global Coalition on Aging.  “When we conceived this grant program back in 2019 with Pfizer Global Medical Grants, we knew of the huge need to enhance adult vaccines as a critical part of prevention-focused health strategies in Japan, and therefore as a model for global lessons, especially as the WHO and UN were planning their launch of the Decade of Healthy Ageing.  And, now with older adults most at risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 and the attendant need for their immunization, the importance of the program takes on an even greater sense of urgency.”

Immediate action is critical, especially as there will soon be 2 billion globally over 60, and, for the first time in the history of humanity, more old than young. When vaccines are not utilized or under-utilized, the result is an increased vulnerability to several diseases – including shingles, pneumococcal disease, and influenza. As we age, vaccinations can improve quality of life by reducing risks for morbidity and disability and have the potential to increase life expectancy, while having positive impacts on healthcare costs, especially hospitalization, readmissions and physician visits.

“VALUE is a very exciting initiative and a great example of the positive outcomes we can achieve through public/private partnerships,” said Dr. John Beard, Chair of the Global Coalition on Aging Advisory Council, former Director of Ageing and Life Course at the WHO, and member of the Expert Panel that evaluated grant proposals for the VALUE Initiative. “Linking VALUE to global interests in healthy and active aging through the WHO Decade of Healthy Ageing will enable us to learn from Japan even as this initiative contributes to better outcomes for Japan’s aging population itself.”

Along with Dr. Beard and Mr. Hodin, the VALUE Expert Panel includes Dr. Mitsunobu Kano, Okayama University; Dr. Bennett Lee, Pfizer Japan; Dr. Stefania Maggi, European Interdisciplinary Council on Aging; Dr. Kenji Shibuya, King’s College London; and Professor Brigita Skela-Savič, International Council of Nurses.

“By working in partnership with government leaders, NGOs, and professional health and medical associations, the VALUE Initiative will bring greater attention to the need, opportunity, and pathways for solutions and uncover strategies that can measurably increase the number of older adults who are immunized against preventable diseases,” said Hodin. “It is our hope that Japan can become a model for healthier longevity that developed and developing countries alike can follow.”

About Pfizer Global Medical Grants

Pfizer Global Medical Grants (GMG) supports the global healthcare community’s independent initiatives (e.g., research, quality improvement or education) to improve patient outcomes in areas of unmet medical need that are aligned with Pfizer’s medical and/or scientific strategies.

 

Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

What Old Age Might Be Like for Today’s 30-Year-Olds

Get ready for a new old age. With the U.S. fertility rate in a decadelong slump and the life expectancy of 65-year-old Americans approaching roughly 85, our aging nation is likely to grow older by midcentury, as the ratio of young to old continues to decline. The trend is likely to upend how our society is organized, making life very different for today’s 30-year-olds when they reach their 60s compared with life for 60-year-olds now.

World Population Reaches 8bn As It Grows Older

The world’s population reached 8bn people on Tuesday and will hit 9bn in 15 years as it experiences an unprecedented surge in the number of older people, according to the latest UN data. The global fertility rate has more than halved since the 1950s to 2.3 births per woman. With mortality also falling, the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise from 783mn in 2022 to 1bn by 2030 and reach 1.4bn by 2043, the UN population data revealed.

Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) Launches Cross-Sector Alliance Committed to Health Innovation at High-Level Forum on The Silver Economy

Today, the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), along with cross-sector stakeholders representing patient advocacy, policy, industry, and academic communities, announced the launch of the Alliance for Health Innovation at the High-Level Forum on the Silver Economy in New York. The Alliance is dedicated to establishing the importance of innovation in achieving healthy aging and health equity through investments, policy reforms, and strategic partnerships.

Japan Must Face Up to Growing Danger of Drug-resistant Germs

In the wake of more than 6.4 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide and unprecedented economic destruction, the global community has no excuse to be caught unprepared for the next pandemic. Yet right now, a devastating parallel plague is already underway and worsening. Some years, it is killing well over 1 million people, according to medical journal The Lancet.

A Bipartisan Bill Could Prevent The Next Pandemic

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats are typically at loggerheads when it comes to healthcare policy. Just consider the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which made extensive changes to Medicare and also extended Affordable Care Act subsidies. Every single congressional Democrat voted for the legislation, while every single member of the GOP voted against it. But occasionally, a bill is such an obviously good idea, and so desperately needed, that it commands significant bipartisan support. The PASTEUR Act, co-sponsored by 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the House and two members of each party in the Senate, is just such a bill.

Korea Must Act Now to Combat Growing AMR Threat

Public officials are overlooking one of the gravest long-term threats to the Korean people, the health system, and economy: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Some pathogens ― bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses ― have evolved strains that resist the antimicrobial medications we currently have available to fight them. Health care professionals often must watch helplessly as patients succumb to infections that antibiotics could once have easily beaten. They know that new antimicrobials, including and especially antibiotics, could easily gain the victory ― but they have none at their disposal.

Policy Statement on the Impact of Price Negotiations on Innovation, Healthy Aging and Equity

As the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a newly formed cross-sector Alliance for Health Innovation, we write to express our deep concern with the current legislation that allows for price “negotiations” in Medicare – a thinly veiled signal for America’s plunge into price controls that will have a devastating and adverse impact on biopharmaceutical innovation and our nations’ ability to support healthy aging.