During the VITAL General Assembly of 2021, we were pleased to welcome Dr, Jean-Pierre Michel as our keynote speaker and Advisory Board Member. Dr Michel is emeritus professor of medicine and former head of the academic geriatric department at Geneva Hospitals and Medical University. Additionally, he is honorary professor of Medicine at Limoges University and Beijing University Hospital, and adjunct professor at Mac Gill University in Montreal and more recently Rabat. In a short interview we were able to ask him more about his view on the VITAL project and the research being conducted on vaccinating the elderly.

What is your role as Advisory Board member for VITAL?

As part of the Advisory Board I get to appreciate the team’s work in the different VITAL work packages, during meetings I can complete the drive line with comments and providing ideas and references when needed.

In your opinion, what is the importance of vaccinating the elderly?

Immunization has to be considered a contribution to the healthy ageing process, or more exactly a healthy life span. The anti-infectious activities of a vaccine act at the individual and community levels, while the anti-inflammatory power of vaccines helps decrease non-communicable diseases leading to coronary diseases and strokes in seniors. Moreover, it was discovered that vaccines also decrease antimicrobial resistance.

What is the importance of the VITAL project?

VITAL is an essential program to aid the development of vaccine knowledge in multiple areas that were poorly explored until now. These areas include incidence and cost of vaccine preventable diseases; discovery of biomarkers of ageing and immunity; and education of health care professionals whose role is essential in raising vaccine public awareness.

What is your view on the research done by the VITAL consortium and the results already achieved?

I was totally impressed by the tremendous work done by the different work packages. The results shown at the latest General Assembly are extremely promising for the future of the project.

From your perspective, how can current practices benefit from the research being done in the VITAL consortium?

I believe that all the factors I mentioned will without a doubt contribute to strengthening the value of vaccination for the elderly for policy makers, health care professionals and the general public.

Important milestones in the career of Dr. Michel

Dr. Jean-Pierre Michel co-founded the European Academy for Medicine of Aging (EAMA), the Academia Latinoamericana de Medicina del Adult major (ALMA), the Middle East Academy of Medicine of Ageing (MEAMA), the Asian Academy for Medicine of Ageing (AAMA) and the South East Asia Academy of Geriatrics.

He is currently Director of the IAGG-W Federation of Geriatric Education and was welcomed as member of the International Federation of Aging scientific committee. Dr. Michel is WHO expert of the “Aging and Life course” program and was co-author of the 1st Global WHO report devoted on “Ageing and Health” launched in 2015. In 2016, he co-founded the European Interdisciplinary Council on Ageing “EICA”.