World Immunisation Week special blog: Gary Finnegan, Editor of Vaccines Today on life-course approaches to immunisation

Vaccines Today was launched five years ago as a hub of information on immunisation. It was developed just after the flu pandemic.

During the pandemic, it was noticed that there was a lack of vaccine advocates online – and into the vacuum anti-vaccine voices came to the fore. The idea behind Vaccines Today was to have a hub of factual information that advocates and stakeholders from right across the spectrum could use to advocate for immunisation.

When we started five years ago, a lot of the emphasis would have been on childhood immunisation; people still thought of vaccination as something that happens early in a child’s life, and then that’s the end of the story.

But even in those five years, things have changed quite a lot.

There are catch-up campaigns for teenagers who missed out on the MMR;  travel vaccines remain popular with backpackers and business travellers alike; and HPV is having an impact on cervical cancers. Flu, post-pandemic has come into focus with new vaccines becoming available. And then you’ve got pneumococcal and shingles for adults as well, so it’s a much more life-course approach than you would have seen in the past, and this has started to be reflected at policy level in Europe.

Italy has recently revamped its vaccine schedule, and has taken a much more lifelong, life-course approach. So things are changing, and if you listen to what’s coming from the research side, you’ve got things like cancer vaccines and the whole therapeutic area of vaccination. While childhood immunisation is still extremely important and is the foundation of public health in the early stages of life, we’re now thinking of vaccination as something that’s not just for kids.

Vaccines Today works with the European Adult Immunisation Hub to promote life-course approaches to vaccination. To find out more, visit their website at