The Association of Physicians of India (API) has released the first ever adult immunization recommendations for India, in partnership with Abbott. This comprehensive set of recommendations, put forward by a panel of healthcare experts, provides robust, evidence-based information to support physicians in recommending adult vaccination against typhoid, influenza and a range
of other diseases. These recommendations meet an urgent need to equip physicians with data on vaccines, including dosage, indications, delivery frequency and administration, so physicians can drive greater coverage of adult vaccination across India.
Vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in India such as influenza, Hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever and more have undergone a discernible shift in the nature of prevalence, affected age groups and the susceptibility of infectious diseases. 3 Influenza, for instance, is a highly prevalent respiratory disease and seasonal influenza cases in West Bengal have significantly increased by 166% per annum in the period 2013 to 2019. 4 Similarly, in 2016, India reported 6.6 million typhoid cases (499 cases per 1,00,000 population), with 44% of mortality occurring in persons more than 15 years of age. 5 In West Bengal, there were 251,296 cases in 2018, contributing 10.89% to India’s total burden. 6 Factors such as rapid globalization and increased frequency of international travel
contribute to the rising likelihood of adults contracting VPDs. 7 These diseases can also exacerbate existing comorbidities and are associated with high morbidity and mortality 8 .
While vaccinations remain the most effective prevention strategy to maintain immunity for a prolonged period, 9 adult immunization remains neglected. Inadequate awareness, lack of an established body of official recommendations 10 and vaccine hesitancy contribute to reduced vaccine coverage across the Indian adult population. The adult immunization recommendations introduced by the API will enable healthcare practitioners to effectively make informed decisions regarding adult vaccines. 11 They explain the role of vaccines as a crucial preventive strategy and
health management tool for adults. They encompass information on the causes, symptoms and associated complications of VPDs, including influenza, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and hepatitis A & B amongst other diseases, and provide clinical data on various available adult vaccines. This data includes indications, dosage, frequency, schedules and catch-up vaccination timelines. The recommendations also highlight the increased need for vaccines amongst specific at- risk populations, including people with comorbidities, healthcare providers, frequent travelers, geriatrics and pregnant women. Commenting on the recommendations, Padma Bhushan Prof. Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, Former Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, stated, “There is potential to increase adult immunization coverage in India. To develop these evidence-based recommendations, we convened a panel of healthcare experts across specialty practices, ranging from Cardiology Pulmonology, Gynecology to Nephrology. The result is a comprehensive body of knowledge outlining best practices and reliable information on adult immunization in India. Through these recommendations, we hope to drive a paradigm shift to ensure 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, prolong and improve quality of life, emphasis on adult immunization is pretty low. These recommendations will help increase the awareness and equip healthcare practitioners with evidence-based information to guide vaccine recommendation and administration. At Abbott, we aim to continue raising awareness to protect people from vaccine-preventable diseases, so they can live fuller and healthier lives.”
About the Adult Immunization Recommendations The recommendations, titled ‘Adult Immunization in India: Changing the Immunization Paradigm,’ are authored by a panel of healthcare experts formed by the Association of Physicians of India (API). These healthcare experts are from a number of specialties, including Pulmonology, Cardiology, Gynaecology, Endocrinology and Nephrology. The Chief Editors are Prof. Dr. S Arulrhaj, Dr. K.K. Pareek of API and Prof. Nirmal Kumar Ganguly, Former Director General of ICMR. Published by Wiley India, the recommendations cover the introduction to and history of vaccines and address the current landscape of vaccine-preventable diseases. They detail clinical data on available adult vaccines on a number of diseases, including influenza, typhoid, chicken pox, shingles, Japanese encephalitis and more, and also outline the usage of vaccines in special populations, such as in patients with comorbidities or healthcare professionals.