Views and Perceptions of People Aged 55+ on the Vaccination Programme for Older Adults in the UK: A Qualitative Study

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Vaccination reduces the risks related to infectious disease, especially among more vulnerable groups, such as older adults. The vaccines available to older adults in the UK through the government-funded programme currently include influenza, pneumococcal, shingles and COVID-19 vaccines. The purpose of the programme is disease prevention and improving wellbeing among the ageing population. Yet, the target population’s views of the programme remain unknown. This paper aims to increase the understanding of older adults’ perceptions of the vaccination programme available in the UK. A total of 13 online focus groups (56 informants) were carried out for this qualitative study. The findings indicate that getting vaccinated involves personal decision-making processes, which are influenced by previous experiences and interpersonal interactions. Factors related to the wider community and culture are less prominent in explaining vaccination decisions. However, opportunistic vaccination offers, a lack of information and a lack of opportunities to discuss vaccines, especially with healthcare professionals, are prominent factors. The study provides in-depth data about the rationale behind older adults’ vaccination decisions in the UK. We recommend that the provision of information and opportunities to discuss vaccines and infectious disease be improved to enable older adults’ to make better informed decisions regarding the vaccines available to them.
Original languageEnglish
Article number870
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the research participants for taking part in focus groups and the patient and public involvement and engagement group (PPIE) for their input in the study materials, including the topic guide. T.S., J.K., C.C. and H.C. would like to acknowledge support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation (HPRU BSE) at the University of Bristol. Y.B.-S. is partly funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) and the University of Bristol. J.K. is also partly funded by NIHR ARC West. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, the Department of Health and Social Care or UKHSA.

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (UK) Career Development Fellowship, grant number CDF-2018-11-ST2-015.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Structured keywords

  • HEHP@Bristol


  • vaccination
  • vaccine perceptions
  • vaccination motives
  • older adults
  • focus groups
  • qualitative research
  • influenza
  • pneumococcal
  • shingles
  • COVID-19


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