Healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of communicating with older people about vaccination (search up to March 2020)

Added October 4, 2021

Citation: Glenton C, Carlsen B, Lewin S, et al. Healthcare workers’ perceptions and experiences of communicating with people over 50 years of age about vaccination: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2021;(7):CD13706.

What is this? There are effective vaccines for several infectious diseases including influenza and COVID-19 but uptake of vaccination is not consistent across all groups. Earlier research into this might help policy makers make decisions about COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

In this Cochrane review, the authors searched for qualitative research into healthcare workers’ experiences of communicating with older adults about vaccination. They did not restrict their searches by date or language of publication and did the search on 20 March 2020. They included 11 studies, which were from Australia (1 study), Canada (1), Israel (1), Europe (4) and USA (4).

What was found: At the time of this review, the included studies showed that healthcare workers noted that older adults vary in the extent to which they ask about vaccinations. When vaccination was discussed, a lack of information, misinformation and concerns about vaccination were noted.

At the time of this review, the included studies showed that discussions about vaccines were influenced by the goals of the healthcare worker. Some healthcare workers believed that older adults had a responsibility to decide about vaccinations for themselves, some sought to persuade older adults to get vaccinated, some sought financial benefits through vaccine sales and some tailored discussions based on the individual they were speaking with.

At the time of this review, the included studies showed that factors influencing the communication between healthcare workers and older adults about vaccination included the views of the provider, healthcare worker experience in implementing vaccine services and experiences in addressing questions about the disease and associated vaccination.


This summary was prepared by Joly Ghanawi, edited by Sydney Johnson and finalized by Mike Clarke.

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