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Posted: November 14th, 2023

What are the most successful tactics for encouraging older individuals’ trust in and use of the COVID-19 vaccine?

What are the most successful tactics for encouraging older individuals’ trust in and use of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious threat to the health and well-being of older adults, who are more likely to develop severe complications and die from the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people aged 60 years and over account for 88% of COVID-19 deaths globally. Therefore, it is crucial to protect this vulnerable group by increasing their access to and uptake of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

However, some older adults may face barriers or have concerns that prevent them from getting vaccinated. These may include:

– Lack of information or misinformation about the safety, efficacy and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines
– Difficulty in accessing vaccination sites or booking appointments
– Fear of side effects or adverse reactions
– Mistrust of health authorities or vaccine manufacturers
– Low perceived risk of COVID-19 infection or severity
– Influence of family, friends or community members who are hesitant or opposed to vaccination

To overcome these challenges and encourage older individuals’ trust in and use of COVID-19 vaccines, several strategies have been proposed and implemented by various stakeholders, such as health authorities, health care providers, community organizations, media outlets and older adults themselves. Some of the most successful tactics include:

– Providing clear, accurate and timely information about COVID-19 vaccines through multiple channels and formats, such as websites, social media, newsletters, flyers, posters, videos, podcasts, webinars and phone calls. The information should address common questions and myths, explain the benefits and risks of vaccination, highlight the evidence of safety and efficacy, and emphasize the importance of protecting oneself and others from COVID-19 .
– Engaging older adults in the decision-making process and respecting their autonomy and preferences. Health care providers should offer personalized counseling and education to older adults who are hesitant or unsure about vaccination, using a respectful, empathetic and non-judgmental approach. They should also elicit and address any concerns or fears that older adults may have, provide reassurance and support, and help them weigh the pros and cons of vaccination .
– Enhancing the accessibility and convenience of vaccination services for older adults. This may involve providing transportation assistance, home-based vaccination, mobile clinics, walk-in appointments, extended hours, online registration systems, reminder messages and incentives. It may also involve reducing potential barriers such as cost, language, literacy, disability or cultural differences .
– Leveraging the influence of trusted sources and role models who can endorse and promote COVID-19 vaccination among older adults. These may include health care providers, public health officials, religious leaders, celebrities, politicians, family members, friends or peers who have received or plan to receive the vaccine. They can share their positive experiences and motivations for getting vaccinated through testimonials, stories or images on various platforms .
– Building trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines among older adults by ensuring transparency, accountability and responsiveness from health authorities and vaccine manufacturers. This may involve disclosing the data and processes behind vaccine development, approval and distribution; monitoring and reporting any adverse events or breakthrough infections; updating the recommendations based on new evidence; addressing any issues or complaints; and soliciting feedback from older adults .

These tactics are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary and synergistic. They should be tailored to the specific needs, preferences and contexts of different groups of older adults, taking into account their demographic characteristics, health status, risk factors, social determinants and cultural backgrounds. By implementing these tactics in a coordinated and collaborative manner across multiple levels and sectors, it is possible to increase older individuals’ trust in and use of COVID-19 vaccines.


: WHO (2023). Vaccinating older adults against COVID-19.
: NIA (2021). Vaccinations and Older Adults.
: University of Utah Health (2021). COVID-19 Vaccines and Older Adults.
: HHS (2023). Older Adults Toolkit.
: CDC (2023). CDC simplifies COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, allows older adults to receive booster shots.

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