A report addressing the challenges of vaccination in older adults in Europe has also highlighted the role of animal models in vaccine development.
The report by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) points out mRNA-based vaccines – used for Covid-19 – were a key research milestone for science, and how animal models were used in vaccine development (p41) and to test safety and efficacy and ‘may often be the only route to mechanistic insights’ (p22).
The Immunisation for old adults in Europe: scientific and social strategies report collected data from European Academies on the national adult vaccination schedules, and examined the growing issue of vaccine hesitancy.
The report explained that our understanding about the loss of immune function with age came from ‘a plethora of laboratory studies in humans and in animal models’ (p21). It was also animal model data, using aged mice, that contributed to the studies which led to the booster vaccine programme (p42).
“At European level, there are already very clear paediatric vaccination programmes, but this is not the case for older adult programmes. This report comes to reveal this major gap,” said George Griffin, FEAM Immediate Past-President and Chair of the Expert Committee (video).