Health protection in older age
In 2021/22 the proportion of Rochdale borough's population over the age of 65 that was vaccinated against flu was 82.1 per cent, which is just below the 85 per cent national benchmark and similar to the England average of 82.3 per cent (GOV.UK).
What is health protection?
Health protection refers to actions we might take to protect the population's health from major incidents and other threats (Public Health England, 2018). This is achieved through a number of programmes from vaccinations, antibiotic prescription monitoring, other types of screening and the monitoring and actions around outbreaks of disease.
Infectious diseases account for a significant proportion of hospital admissions and deaths in the elderly with influenza and pneumonia of particular importance. Unfortunately the immunological response to vaccines in older individuals is less than that in younger adults. A life-course vaccination programme can promote healthy ageing and reduce the burden of preventable disease (Michel J-P et al, 2009).
Vaccinations in older people
There are a number of vaccines that are routinely offered to everyone for free on the NHS. These are mostly administered during childhood. However, some are given to certain population groups who are more at risk and this includes older people.
Common vaccinations given to older people include ones for:
- Pneumococcal infections (PPV)
Pneumococcal infections include bronchitis, otitis media as well as septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis. Cases of invasive pneumococcal infections usually peak in the winter during December and January.
Statistics on vaccinations and health protection
- Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) - Health protection profile - the Health Protection Profile covers a range of health protection issues, with information on various infections, but also interventions to reduce infection such as immunisation. The profile includes a section on immunisation and childhood vaccine for preventable diseases, which also includes data for older people.
Guidance and information on health protection in older people
- Local Government Association - Local government guide to healthy ageing - this report looks at various health behaviours in older people including a section on action in primary care settings and considers the impact they have on health. It also contains a number of case studies from local authorities on action that can be taken.
- Government Office for Science - Future of ageing collection - the 'Future of an ageing population' project provided state of the art scientific evidence to government to inform a range of policies and actions. It consists of reports, essays and evidence reviews.