Head of the Influenza Centre calls for urgent action on adult vaccination

Head of the Influenza Centre calls for urgent action on adult vaccination

Professor Rebecca Cox, head of the Influenza Centre, has joined forces with 18 representatives of key health organizations in a call to action recently published in Aftenposten. Their message is clear: We urgently need a comprehensive vaccination program for adults.

Such a program could play a crucial role in tackling a number of challenges, from reducing illness and death to bolstering the sustainability of our healthcare system and enhancing pandemic preparedness. Moreover, it could help combat antibiotic resistance and bridge the gap in health inequality.

At the heart of their plea lies the recognition of an aging society as a major pressure point on the healthcare system. By alleviating this strain, more individuals could enjoy prolonged health and continue working—a particularly pertinent point given the rising retirement age. Additionally, by reducing infections, we can also diminish the overuse of antibiotics, a critical step in our fight against antibiotic resistance.

However, despite the undeniable benefits, vaccination rates among adults and the elderly lag behind those among children. The group points to research from Oslo Economics, which estimates that vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza, shingles, RSV, and pneumococcal disease will cost society NOK 1.1 billion in healthcare expenses in 2023 alone.

In light of these findings, the group stresses the need to prioritize prevention efforts. Vaccines are among the most effective tools we have in preventive healthcare, and investing in a comprehensive adult vaccination program is imperative. By allocating funds to this initiative in the state budget, we can take proactive steps to safeguard public health and bridge existing social disparities in healthcare access.

Read the full call here