Seventy-five percent of seniors are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine immediately, up from 47% in November, according to the latest SilverSneakers Pulse Survey from Tivity Health. “Trust, Timing, and COVID: A Vaccine Study Among U.S. Seniors — Round 2,” surveyed more than 4,500 seniors to assess their attitudes about the vaccine, the experience of those who have been vaccinated and barriers to adoption.
Key findings include:
More seniors trust the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. However, an increased number are frustrated due to barriers limiting easy access to vaccinations.
The survey showed that 81% of respondents are confident the research and development process in the U.S. will produce a safe and effective vaccine. Only 5% of respondents now say they will not seek out a vaccine, down from 15% in the Round 1 survey. However, only 22% of respondents believe they will have quick and easy access to a vaccine compared to 39% in November, and less than half of survey respondents who have made an appointment agreed (45%) it was easy to get an appointment.
One in four respondents expect availability of the vaccine within a month, while 32% of those still looking to receive the vaccine believe they will have to wait more than three months to receive it
Potential side effects continue to be the main reason influencing vaccine adoption or rejection, but significantly less than before.
In November 2020, 50% of senior respondents choosing to adopt the vaccine were less likely to do so if some people experience a major side effect, compared to only 20% in February 2021.
Among the respondents who have received the vaccine, 95% were satisfied with the overall experience at the vaccination site.
Nearly one-third (31%) believe they’ll have to pay for the vaccine, down from 62% in November.
Nearly half of seniors continue to delay or avoid routine medical or dental care, with a higher proportion being low income and minority populations.
The ongoing, profound effects of the pandemic on seniors have been exacerbated as time goes on. Two out of every three seniors know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and about half of senior respondents believe they are high risk for severe COVID-19 infection. The survey also found that 43% of respondents delayed or canceled medical or dental appointments during the pandemic and 70% felt unsafe visiting a medical office in February 2021, compared to 63% in November 2020.
Health disparities exacerbated because of COVID-19 also were demonstrated in survey findings. A higher proportion of minority members (48%) and lower income respondents (51%) delayed health care appointments compared to white members and respondents with a higher income (43%).