The role of life-course immunisation in healthy ageing

Overview of Thailand’s life-course immunisation landscape

By 2050, Thailand is expected to become an aged society, with 30%, or 19.5 million of its population aged 65 and above.[1] Thailand’s ageing population increase – from 13% in 2020 to 30% in 2050 – represents the fifth largest percentage point increase globally.6

Influenza leads to an estimated 4 deaths per 100,000 persons annually in Thailand, with the elderly constituting 83% of deaths.[2] Overall, seasonal influenza is estimated to cost Thailand between USD 31.1 million to USD 83.6 million annually in direct medical, non-medical and indirect costs from productivity losses.[3]

Despite the obvious benefits of vaccination as well as Thailand’s recognition of the value of adult immunisation, Thailand’s immunisation rate remains low, with only 20% of the elderly aged 65 and above receiving vaccinations against influenza.[4]

Tracking the progress of Thailand’s life-course immunisation

Adult influenza vaccine subsidies are available through the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) and covered under the budget of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme. Since 2008, individuals aged 65 and above has been identified as a target group for vaccine prioritisation in the program.[11]

Key challenges and solutions

At a 2022 roundtable discussion among policy-makers in Thailand, supported by Ageing Asia and Sanofi, experts discussed the key challenges and solutions including:

Awareness and understanding

Low awareness levels among the general public as well as healthcare providers on the benefits and impact of immunisation.

Accessing immunisation across the life-course

Access for the elderly  to healthcare facilities that provide immunisation, as well as access to vaccines that provide the best protection for the elderly.

Materials

References:

[1] https://theaseanpost.com/article/southeast-asias-rapidly-ageing-population
[2] https://publichealth.jhu.edu/2016/expanding-use-of-vaccines-could-save-up-to-44-dollars-for-every-dollar-spent-study-suggests
[3] Torner N, et al. (2017). Costs associated with influenza-related hospitalization in the elderly. Hum Vaccin Immunother 13(2): 412-416.
[4] EU-ABC, KPMG, Sanofi and WPPF. (2021). ‘The Decade of Healthy Ageing in ASEAN: Role of Life-course Immunisation’. Available: https://healthyageingasean.org.
[5] H. H. Mydin. (2020) ‘Influenza vaccination important too.’ The New Straits Times. [Online]. Available: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/12/651562/influenza-vaccination-important-too
[6] J. T. Owusu, P. Praphasiri, D. Ditsungnoen, G. Leetongin, et al. ‘Seasonal influenza vaccine coverage among high-risk populations in Thailand, 2010–2012.’ Vaccine. 2015;33(5):742-747.
[7] United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019). Probabilistic Population Projections Rev. 1 based on the World Population Prospects 2019 Rev. 1. [Online]. Available: http://population.un.org/wpp/
[8] S. Aungkulanon, P.Y. Cheng, K. Kusreesakul, K. Bundhamcharoen, et al. ‘Influenza-associated mortality in Thailand, 2006–2011.’ Influenza and other respiratory viruses. 2015;9(6):298-304.
[9] S. Kiertiburanakul, W. Phongsamart, T. Tantawichien, W. Manosuthi, P. Kulchaitanaroaj. ‘Economic Burden of Influenza in Thailand: A Systematic Review.’ Inquiry. 2020;57:1-14.
[10] J. T. Owusu, P. Praphasiri, D. Ditsungnoen, G. Leetongin, et al. ‘Seasonal influenza vaccine coverage among high-risk populations in Thailand, 2010–2012.’ Vaccine. 2015;33(5):742-747.
[11] https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/336764/tha-epi-factsheet-2020-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y