Objectives Populations are aging worldwide. This paper summarizes some of the challenges and opportunities due to the increasing burden of infectious diseases in an aging population.
Results Older adults typically suffer elevated morbidity from infectious disease, leading to increased demand for healthcare resources and higher healthcare costs. Preventive medicine, including vaccination can potentially play a major role in preserving the health and independence of older adults. However, this potential of widespread vaccination is rarely realized. Here, we give a brief overview of the problem, discuss concrete obstacles and the potential for expanded vaccination programs to promote healthy aging.
Conclusion The increasing healthcare burden of infectious diseases expected in aging populations could, to a large extent, be reduced by achieving higher vaccination coverage among older adults. Vaccination can thus contribute to healthy aging, alongside healthy diet and physical exercise. The available evidence indicates that dedicated programs can achieve substantial improvements in vaccination coverage among older adults, but more research is required to assess the generalizability of the results achieved by specific interventions (see Additional file 1).