Association of Physicians of India launches first ever Adult Immunization Recommendations for India


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Outlines evidence-based information on vaccine administration and prevention guidelines for various vaccine preventable diseases

The Indian Association of Physicians (API) has released the first ever adult immunization recommendations for India, in partnership with Abbott. This comprehensive set of recommendations, presented by a panel of healthcare experts, provides robust evidence-based information to assist doctors in recommending adult vaccination against typhoid, influenza and a range of other diseases. These recommendations meet an urgent need to equip doctors with data on vaccines, including dose, indications, frequency of dispensing and administration, so that doctors can drive greater attention to adult vaccination across India.

In line with relief, vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) in India such as influenza, Hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and more have clearly changed in the nature of prevalence, affected age groups and infectious disease trend.[1] Influenza, for example, is a very common respiratory disease and the incidence of seasonal flu in Delhi has increased significantly from 78 in 2012 to 3,627 in 2019.[2] Similarly, in 2016, India reported 6.6 million typhoid cases (499 cases per 1,00,000 population), with 44% of deaths occurring in people over 15 years of age.[3] In Delhi, there were 27,132 cases in 2018, contributing 1.18 per cent to India’s total burden.[4]

Factors such as rapid globalization and increased frequency of international travel contribute to the increased likelihood of adults contracting VPDs.[5] These diseases can also exacerbate existing comorbidities and are associated with high morbidity and mortality[6].

Although vaccinations are still the most effective prevention strategy for maintaining immunity for a long time, [7] adult immunization continues to be neglected. Insufficient awareness, lack of established body of official recommendations[8] and vaccine hesitancy contributes to reduced vaccine coverage across India’s adult population.

The adult immunization recommendations introduced by the API will enable healthcare practitioners to make informed decisions about adult vaccines effectively.[9] They explain the role of vaccines as an essential preventive strategy and adult health management tool. They cover information on the causes, symptoms and associated complications of VPDs, including influenza, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and hepatitis A & B among other diseases, and provide clinical data on the various adult vaccines available. This data includes indications, dose, frequency, schedules and catch-up vaccination timelines. The recommendations also highlight the growing need for vaccines among certain at-risk populations, including people with comorbidities, healthcare providers, frequent travelers, geriatrics and pregnant women.

Commenting on the recommendations, Professor Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, Padma Bhushan, Former Director General, Medical Research Council of India (ICMR), New Delhi, stated, “There is potential to increase the scope of adult immunization in India. To develop these evidence-based recommendations, we convened a panel of healthcare experts across specialized practices, ranging from Cardiology, Pulmonology, Gynecology to Nephrology. The result is a comprehensive body of information outlining best practices and reliable information on adult immunization in India. Through these recommendations, we hope to drive a paradigm shift to ensure that adult vaccinations are increasingly suggested and adopted. “

Highlighting the role the recommendations can play in improving health outcomes, Dr Srirupa Das, Medical Director, Abbott India, said, “While vaccinations prevent infectious diseases, extend and improve quality of life, the emphasis is on adult immunization is quite low. These recommendations will help raise awareness and equip healthcare practitioners with evidence-based information to inform vaccine recommendations and administration. At Abbott, we aim to continue to raise awareness to protect people from vaccine preventable diseases, so that they can lead fuller, healthier lives. ”

References:

[1] Rathi, A. (2017). Diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Vaccine preventable diseases in Indian adults – burden and prevention. Gavin Publishers.

[2] Seasonal Influenza H1N1: State / UT – Number wise cases and deaths, Year-wise from 2016-2020 and State / UT – number of cases and deaths wise, Year-wise from 2010-2015; available at https://ncdc.gov.in/index4.php?lang=1&level=0&linkid=119&lid=276, accessed on 23 March 2021

[3] Vashishtha VM. Adolescent Immunization Schedule: Relocation Needed [Internet]. Ref. 101, INDIAN PEDIATRICS. 2019 [cited 2019 Jul 17]. Available from: https://www.indianpediatrics.net/feb2019/101.pdf

[4] National Health Profile (NHP) India- 2019

[5] Rathi, A., & Sharma, S. (2017). Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Indian Adults – Burden and Prevention. Treating Infectious Infection Diag, Gavin Publishers. 2017 (1), J102.

[6] Physicians Association of India (2020). Adult Immunization in India: Changing the Immunization Paradigm. Wiley India Publications.

[7] Rathi, A. (2017). Diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Vaccine preventable diseases in Indian adults – burden and prevention. Gavin Publishers.

[8] Rathi, A. (2017). Diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Vaccine preventable diseases in Indian adults – burden and prevention. Gavin Publishers.

[9] Physicians Association of India (2020). Adult Immunization in India: Changing the Immunization Paradigm. Wiley India Publications.

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