Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccine services and supporting evidence. It is a complex issue influenced by various factors, including vaccine safety signals, misinformation, mistrust in the healthcare system, and convenience. The causal drivers of vaccine hesitancy are complex and context-specific, varying across time, place, and vaccines. Vaccine hesitancy is distinct from barriers that limit access to vaccines or vaccine services. 10 It is a motivational state of being conflicted about or opposed to getting vaccinated, influenced by how people think and feel about vaccines and the social processes that underpin vaccine acceptance.11
Hesitancy: indecision or disinclination, reluctance
Hesitant: undecided, doubtful, disinclined; lacking readiness of speech – Slow to act or speak especially because you are nervous or unsure about what to do: feeling or showing hesitation
Disinclined: not wanting to do something, lacking desire or willingness; unwilling; reluctant; averse
Vaccine hesitancy is a significant threat to global health and vaccination programs. The WHO has identified it as one of the top ten threats to global health.8 To address vaccine hesitancy, we need to rebuild public vaccine confidence through effective communication and community engagement.9
SOURCE: 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
Many adults are not fully vaccinated and improving adult vaccination is a national priority.
Approximately 90% of influenza-related deaths and 50-70% of influenza-related hospitalizations occur among people in this age group.3
Influenza and RSV are particularly dangerous for older adults, as they can cause severe respiratory illness and pneumonia. The risk of hospitalization and death from respiratory viruses increases with age, with adults aged ≥65 years suffering the most severe health effects of seasonal influenza.
Adults are at risk of illness, hospitalization, disability, and death from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations for adults based on age, health conditions, prior vaccinations, and other considerations to prevent morbidity and mortality from VPDs. Despite the burden and consequences of VPDs, vaccination coverage among U.S. adults remains low for most vaccines.7
Vaccinations are especially important for older adults because as people age, their immune system weakens, making it more difficult to fight off infections
Older adults are at a higher risk of hospitalization and death from respiratory viruses due to their weakened immune systems.
In the United States, respiratory viruses such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cause hospitalizations and deaths among older adults each year.
More than just COVID