About this Research Topic
Vaccines prevent 3 million of deaths every year and are a crucial to combat antimicrobial resistance. An optimal implementation of existing vaccines could help to avert up to 1.5 million deaths as well
as substantial disabilities. Indeed, vulnerable populations (VPs), including pregnant women, newborns, preterm infants, elderly and patients affected by chronic diseases are frequently undervaccinated and/or at risk of reduced vaccine efficacy, presenting a major health and economic burden to society. Vaccine development programs mainly focus on healthy populations; therefore, vaccination strategies are often based on data arising from healthy subjects.
Obtaining an optimal vaccine coverage in VPs is particularly challenging since:
• VP are often under-vaccinated for various reasons, including: low acceptability, misconceptions about the safety of vaccination of both the stakeholders (the general practitioners who usually administer the vaccine and the vulnerable person who should receive it), and the cost and the inability of healthcare systems to ensure that such patients receive recommended vaccines.
• VP may have a sub-optimal response to vaccines.
When responding positively to the immunogenic stimulus, the mechanism of protection in VP may differ from that of healthy subjects. As a consequence, most vaccine indications in special and vulnerable groups derive from extrapolations, assumptions, or post-licensure studies. The evidence that the data about immunogenicity and safety of vaccines in vulnerable subjects are very limited compared to healthy subjects doesn’t usually allow for rational vaccine interventions in these populations.
The goal of this Research Topic is to gather the latest evidences about vaccine safety and immunogenicity relevant to vulnerable populations including pregnant women, newborns, preterm infants, elderly and patients affected by chronic diseases. We expect studies coming from different disciplines, such as epidemiology, basic immunology, systems vaccinology, omics and human in vitro modeling. We welcome the submission of Original Research, Reviews, Perspectives and Clinical trials on the following themes related to vaccination of vulnerable populations:
1. Mechanisms underlying vaccination of VP, including specific bio-mechanisms (pathogen or drug induced) that can affect responsiveness to vaccines in different pathological conditions or age
groups represented by VP
2. Immunogenicity and safety data of standard and new vaccines in different pathological conditions and age groups, represented by VP
3. Proposed new biomarkers to guide effective vaccination of VP
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.