Research Director, Geriatrician and Epidemiologist, with significant experience in coordinating EU and National-funded epidemiological studies. Coordinator of the Aging Branch group at CNR-IN (Padua).
Member of the Board of Directors of different Scientific Societies (European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases-ESCEO, Consortium for Research on Aging “Luigi Amaducci”; Vice-President, European Interdisciplinary Council on Aging (EICA), Former President of the EuGMS (2016-2017).
She is a member of the Committee of Scientific Advisors of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). Editor in Chief “Aging, Clinical and Experimental Research” (Springer); Associate Editor, “European Geriatric Medicine” (Springer); Editorial consultant of: Age and Aging, Annali Istituto Superiore di Sanità; Series Editor: Practical Issues in Geriatrics (Springer).
How could the pertussis vaccination coverage rates be improved to help protect older adults and at-risk groups?
Stefania Maggi, Institute of Neuroscience, Padua, Italy
Jung-Hyun Choi, Catholic University of Eunpyeong St.Mary’s Hospital, South Korea
Jaime Correia de Sousa, University of Minho, Portugal
Monica Fletcher, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Giovanni Gabutti, University of Ferrara, Italy
Lauriane Harrington, Hyungwoo Kim and Piyali Mukherjee, GSK, Belgium
Michael Holden, MNH Associates Ltd, United Kingdom
Jean-Pierre Michel, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Terry Nolan, University of Melbourne, Australia
Tobias Welte, Institute of Neuroscience, Italy
Despite high infant vaccination rates (85% in 2019), worldwide pertussis infection control remains poor. A virtual scientific workshop with healthcare professionals (HCP), organized in June 2020, aimed to assess the evidence on the burden of pertussis disease in older adults and at-risk groups, such as patients with chronic conditions, and to identify solutions to improve the uptake of pertussis vaccines in these populations.
The burden of pertussis disease has shifted to adolescents and adults during recent years, possibly due to waning immunity, suboptimal pertussis vaccine coverage rates in adults, increased recognition and improved surveillance. The prevalence of pertussis disease in older adults is yet considerably underestimated because of atypical/mild presentation and low awareness leading to low or delayed testing. While pertussis is generally a mild disease in healthy older adults, its complications and sequelae can be severe (e.g. pneumonia, encephalopathy and intracranial hemorrhages).
Vaccination is the most effective strategy to prevent pertussis infection in adults. The available vaccines with reduced-antigen-content tetanus toxoid, diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) for adults are highly immunogenic with an acceptable safety profile. Immunity against Bordetella pertussis induced by vaccination or natural infection declines over time and some countries recommend decennial pertussis booster vaccination throughout life. Despite recommendations and funding in some countries, pertussis vaccination coverage remains suboptimal among adults. Several factors that limit vaccine uptake include discrepancies in recommendations, vaccine hesitancy or refusal among patients, lack of recommendation by HCPs and vaccination accessibility.
Possible measures to improve pertussis vaccination rates include (1) harmonization of guidelines for adult vaccination globally, (2) HCP educational interventions on the value of vaccination for older adults/at-risk groups and reinforcing all relevant vaccines (including Tdap) in the HCP’s routine care regimen, and (3) initiation of pertussis vaccination in pharmacies and other more accessible vaccination channels.
Funding: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA
Acknowledgment: Authors thank Yan Sergerie for his input during the abstract development. Noemi Bulik and Ivana Lesnjak provided medical writing and editorial support (Modis c/o GSK).