New Report Highlights Adult Immunization Among Best Practices in Beijing and Other Rapidly Aging Cities

The report, released by the Global Coalition on Aging and Remnin University of China, builds on expert insights and local and global leadership from Beijing, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization.

New York, NEW YORK (October 3, 2022) – The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and Remnin University of China today released a new report highlighting adult immunization as a key opportunity for Beijing and other cities across China and the world to support healthy aging. Health aging is a critical goal for economies and societies that are increasingly shaped by the 21st century megatrend of aging.

The report shares insights from the first China Healthy Aging Cities Forum, held July 28, 2022, which focused on Beijing and brought together global and Chinese leaders and experts. The Forum and report together build on global momentum and leadership from the United Nations, through the Decade of Healthy Ageing and this weekend’s International Day of Older Persons, and the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. It highlights positive policy actions in Beijing and global Age-Friendly Cities to support healthy aging, with adult immunization generally and COVID-19 vaccination success for older adults as key examples.

“Beijing Municipality was proud to be the focus of the first China Healthy Aging Cities Forum,” said Xiaoe Wang, Deputy Director of the Office of Beijing Municipal Working Committee on Aging. “Beijing is both a rapidly aging city and a long-living city, projected to reach super-aging status by 2050. We recognize that healthy aging requires partnerships across government, society, business, and individuals and their families,” explained Director Wang. “In Beijing, we have developed a high-quality healthy aging service system, which includes an emphasis on vaccination for older adults, to support the healthy aging of our more than 4 million citizens age 60 and older.”

“Older adults are not just more susceptible to infectious diseases but also carry a higher burden of chronic diseases that can render infectious diseases even more dangerous,” explained Mark Doherty, Senior Medical Manager at GSK, which supported the Forum. “Adult immunization has shown to be one of the most effective and cost-efficient healthy aging tools at our disposal, decreasing the risk not just of infectious disease but of other non-communicable diseases as well. We know that older adults are at increased risk of noncommunicable diseases like strokes or cognitive decline -and vaccination against some infectious diseases appears to be associated with lower risk. For example, several studies suggest that older adults vaccinated against zoster have their risk of stroke decreased by as much as 16%, while those already at risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease see that risk reduced by as much as 35%, perhaps by preventing the increased inflammation associated with zoster.”

Professor Peng Du, Vice President of Remnin University of China and a co-organizer of the Forum agreed. “Prioritizing prevention is an increasingly central strategy for achieving healthy aging and sustainable health systems, not just for China, but for aging societies worldwide,” said Professor Du. “We are pleased to again partner with the Global Coalition on Aging to highlight both Chinese leadership in healthy aging and share ideas and best practices in prevention from cities around the world.”

The China Healthy Aging Cities Forum Report provides a model and inspiration for cities across China and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Age-Friendly Cities and Communities around the world. In addition to sharing insights and key takeaways from best practices, the report and experts issued 4 Calls to Action to Beijing and other rapidly aging cities:

  1. Improve vaccine confidence, literacy, and awareness among adults through public health initiatives and education and prioritization of vaccination by health care workers.
  2. Protect older adults against vaccine preventable diseases through policy levers proven to increase uptake of existing vaccines, such as incentives to healthcare professionals and vaccine coverage.
  3. Support policies to improve vaccination infrastructure to facilitate and expand access to vaccine administration points for older people. This includes vaccination by a broader range of healthcare professionals providing a firm governance framework and appropriate education.
  4. Join the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities to access the healthy aging expertise, leverage best practices, and build linkages among Age-friendly communities around the world.

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