Mumbai: In a recent survey conducted by The Association of Physicians of India (API) and Institute Public de Sondage d'Opinion Secteur (Ipsos), it was revealed that 73% of adults aged, 50, are aware of vaccination but only 11% of them take the dose.
The survey also revealed that 50% of adults and 20% of their caregivers would trust their doctors that they would be advised to get the vaccination. It mentioned that 71% of adults are aware of adult vaccination in India and only 16% have taken any adult vaccines in India.
Doctors flag lack of formal guidelines
A majority of doctors surveyed (90%) state that a lack of formal guidelines results in a lack of interest and adoption of vaccination by patients. Doctors also hesitate to discuss adult vaccination with their patients because they have limitations of time, and they also feel patients are less receptive to recommendations due to cost as well as prioritisation of treatment over prevention.
“Only 9% of adults have been recommended to take vaccine by their doctors. However, many of them say they will check with family or friends before taking the dose, if if doctors recommend it,” as per the survey.
Dr Agam Vora, Secretary of The Association of Physicians of India said there is a need to take measures to increase the confidence of doctors in recommending vaccination for adults. This is possible if formal guidelines on adult immunisation are set and widely shared. Moreover, programmes that address concerns, debunk myths, and remind patients and their caregivers frequently to ask doctors about adult vaccines can also drive adoption.
“Our survey also reveals that awareness of vaccines for preventable diseases such as shingles is very low in Mumbai and India. We believe that only when complete information about the negative impact of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), will be provided, then only the immunisation will be taken seriously. We should also acknowledge the role that caregivers can play in improving the uptake of vaccination,” he said.
Certain misconceptions about adult vaccination also hold back adults from getting vaccinated. Many believe that multiple doses of vaccines can make them dependent on vaccines. More than half of adults (58%) and their caregivers (62%) feel that there are better ways than vaccination to protect themselves.
“In Mumbai, 52% of adults feel the same and 36% believe that diseases other than COVID are not severe enough to require vaccination,” said Dr Vora.
The second part of the survey was conducted with shingles patients to understand the level of awareness and impact of this condition. The survey shows that awareness about the condition is low in the country.
“Chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension were reported by 66% of patients surveyed which made them more vulnerable to getting shingles and reinforced the need for such patients to get vaccinated,” revealed the survey.
All doctors have concerns about the lack of patient receptivity, lack of information and affordability of adult vaccination. All of them also feel that their patients are more interested in receiving advice on treatment rather than preventive measures such as vaccination.
73%: of adults above the age of 50 believe in the importance of adult vaccination
75%: of adults and 93% caregivers say that vaccinations are an effective way to prevent serious illnesses
11%: claim to have taken adult vaccine
60%: caregivers claim to have gotten their parents/inlaws vaccinated
90: Advised vaccines by doctors
50% adults: rely on doctors advice
20% caregivers: rely on doctors advice
53%: say they will check with families
30: caregivers agree to this fact