Promoting Healthy Ageing in South Africa Through Vaccination of the Elderly

Mncengeli Sibanda, Johanna C. Meyer*, Kesentseng J. Mahlaba, Rosemary J. Burnett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The World Health Organization estimates that globally, the proportion of people aged ≥60 years will more than double by the year 2050, with the majority of elderly people living in low- and middle-income countries such as South Africa. Population ageing is an impending public health concern, potentially negatively impacting on South Africa's economy and health system if the government does not adequately prepare for this change. Globally, many potential solutions to ensure healthy ageing are being discussed and implemented, including adopting a “life-course” approach to vaccination which includes vaccination of the elderly, since they are at considerable risk of severe morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases. While vaccines are considered as one of the greatest tools for preventing childhood infectious disease morbidity and mortality, they are under-utilised in strategies for promoting healthy ageing in South Africa, where only influenza vaccination is available free of charge to the elderly accessing public sector healthcare. Population ageing coupled with the high incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases amongst elderly South Africans, necessitates establishing a comprehensive national policy and guidelines for vaccination of the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number635266
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • elderly
  • healthy ageing
  • herpes zoster
  • influenza
  • pneumococcal disease
  • vaccination

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