January 10, 2024

Education, leadership keys to combating vaccine hesitancy in senior living, experts say

McKnights Senior Living

Increasing COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus vaccination rates in older adults is going to require a village to battle vaccine reluctance in the form of misinformation, hesitancy and fatigue, according to senior living experts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released two reports on vaccination coverage and treatment for respiratory viruses. The agency found that vaccine fatigue, inaccurate health information and vaccine hesitancy contributed to lower vaccination rates in older adults. 

A significant challenge is that many people now tend to equate COVID-19 with catching a cold, Argentum Vice President of Government Relations Paul Williams told McKnight’s Senior Living

“We need to continue to emphasize how serious these respiratory viruses can be for our residents, who tend to have multiple comorbidities and chronic conditions, putting them at greater risk for serious complications, and even death,” Williams said. “At this point, so many people have made up their minds on vaccination, and trying to get folks to reconsider is an uphill task.”

Many people are “done with COVID” and any discussion of vaccines, he added.

“Vaccine fatigue is real, even though it remains a threat to the older adults we serve,” Williams said.

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