older woman about to get a shot from a healthcare worker

With the pandemic disproportionately affecting seniors nationwide with increased risk of hospitalization or death, and declining mental and physical health due to social isolation, the importance of vaccinations can’t be overemphasized. And yet seniors continue to have concerns about accepting the vaccine. To facilitate herd immunity, stakeholders in the vaccine rollout need to understand such concerns, according to a new Avalere-Tivity Health white paper

The paper highlights five concerns of seniors:

• Who to trust. The level of trust varies when it comes to recommendations by health experts. It’s important to note that primary care providers, health plans and pharmacists wield outsized influence when it comes to compelling seniors to action.

• Costs require further clarity. When out-of-pocket costs associated with receiving the vaccine are not clear to seniors, this could delay their plans to get the vaccine.

• Rapid development contributed to uncertainty. The fact that the speed of vaccine development is closely tied to concerns and/or skepticism among seniors needs to be effectively addressed.

• Concerns regarding side effects persist.  The level of hesitancy to receive the vaccine depends on whether seniors anticipate major or minor  side effects. Efforts to effectively communicate information on side effects will be beneficial for seniors and their immediate families in guiding their decision-making process.

• Local context matters. The need for targeted communications concerning prioritization and vaccine availability is critical.