​​​​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.

 

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