Perceptions of seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccines among older Chinese adults

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background and objectives: Seasonal influenza can lead to pneumonia. In Hong Kong, deaths from pneumonia increased steadily from 2001 to 2015, and pneumonia was the second most common cause of death between 2012 and 2015. The seasonal influenza vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine have been clinically proven as effective measures against these two diseases among older adults, who are at particularly high risk. Despite the availability of vaccine subsidies, however, more than 60% of older adults in Hong Kong remain unvaccinated against pneumococcal diseases and seasonal influenza. The objective of this study was to investigate the perceptions and barriers associated with the seasonal influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations among older adults in Hong Kong.

Research design and methods: A qualitative approach of individual semistructured interviews was adopted; 40 adults aged 65 years and older were interviewed between September and November 2016.

Results: The intersecting influences of belief of vaccines as harmful, low perceived risk of contracting the diseases, negative rumors about the vaccines, lack of promotion by health care providers, the perceived risk posed by the vaccinating locations, and the preference of using traditional Chinese medicine were discovered to prevent the participants from receiving the two vaccinations.

Discussion and implications: Perceptions and cultural factors should be considered in future vaccination promotion among older adults. This study found that, in particular, the participants' cultural associations and stereotypes of hospitals and clinics and health care providers' lack of perceived need to vaccinate older adults contributed to low vaccine acceptance among the participants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Gerontologist
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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