Perceptions of influenza and pneumococcal vaccine uptake by older persons in Australia

Perceptions of influenza and pneumococcal vaccine uptake by older persons in Australia

Published 2nd July 2019

Lynne Briggs, Patricia Fronek, Val Quinn & Tracy Wilde


Background: Influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations reduce adverse health outcomes in older adults. The Australian National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides free seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations for adults ≥65 y. Guidelines recommend all adults ≥65 y receive one dose of 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) regardless of their risk of invasive pneumococcal disease. However, the reported rate of vaccination against pneumococcal disease is much lower than seasonal influenza. Identifying and understanding the perspective of older people on vaccination is important to informing effective promotional strategies for this age group.

Methods: Using a purposive and snowball recruitment strategy, 36 participants aged between 65 and 84 years of age were recruited in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales. Face-to-face qualitative interviews conducted between July 2017 and January 2018 were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed.

Results: In this sample, the uptake of the influenza vaccine (n = 28, 78%) was greater than for the pneumococcal vaccine (n = 14, 39%). Five key themes identified were health practitioner influence; anti-vaccination influence; social responsibility; work-based vaccination; and perceptions of age. The influences on uptake were complex and multi-faceted.

Conclusions: Findings provide new insights, in particular, the role of social responsibility, the long-term impact of workplace vaccinations, and how older people do not necessarily consider themselves old.


Publication Type

Journal Article