Myths, hesitancy behind low rate of adult immunisation, reveals survey

While 43 per cent of ageing adults stated they did not think they needed adult vaccines because they were not at risk of falling ill.
A health professional prepares a dose of a Monkeypox vaccine at the Edison municipal vaccination centre in Paris. (Photo | AP)
A health professional prepares a dose of a Monkeypox vaccine at the Edison municipal vaccination centre in Paris. (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: Myths and vaccine hesitancy is the primary reason for the low adoption of adult vaccination in the country, according to a survey by the Association of Physicians of India (API), a professional body of consultant physicians in India.

This is despite most ageing adults, their caregivers and even their doctors surveyed in 16 cities know the importance of adult immunisation. Still, only a few take the necessary action, the survey said. For the study, around 1,950 adults above the age of 50; 409 caregivers including their children and spouses, and 345 doctors were surveyed.

The doctors surveyed agreed that there was increased awareness about adult vaccination, which soared post-Covid, but patients’ concerns about the safety and efficacy of vaccines have also increased. The API-Ipsos ‘India Adult Immunisation Survey - Awareness to Action’ was conducted to understand the awareness, uptake, barriers and triggers of adult vaccination in India. Ipsos is one of the most extensive market research and polling companies globally.

The survey revealed the gaps India needs to fill to encourage universal adult immunisation, particularly for adults aged 50 and above. It survey said a substantial number of ageing adults (50 per cent) expressed concern about being dependent on vaccines, and 43 per cent said they feared needles.

While 43 per cent of ageing adults stated they did not think they needed adult vaccines because they were not at risk of falling ill. About 56 per cent believed better immunity could be developed through disease exposure. About 58 per cent of ageing adults and 62 per cent of caregivers felt that there were better ways to protect from disease than vaccination.

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