First Results from Focus Group Study

Work package 4 started a focus group study with older adults (ages 50 years and older) in four different countries: Italy, Hungary, France and the Netherlands. Sixteen focus groups were equally divided over these countries. The aim of the study was to understand the target groups’ perspective and information needs on vaccinations. The study team also wanted to explore the networks used by older adults to retrieve information about health and/or vaccination.

The results show that older adults found vaccinations necessary and important. The target group sees it as part of prevention and healthy aging. Many aspects are involved in the decision making of getting vaccinated. The focus groups in all countries have the same opinion about the benefits of vaccinating, which is to protect themselves and the others against diseases. The severity of the disease is also an important decision factor in accepting vaccination. Vaccination uptake also differs per country due to the organizational structures, such as costs and accessibility.

Many of the participants indicate that the need of information for the decision making process of getting vaccinated is an extremely important factor. Type of information concerns characteristics of both the vaccine and the infectious disease. The preferred channels and content of the information were quite similar across all the participants. Participants indicate that healthcare specialists and the government play an important role in providing information. In Hungary and the Netherlands the National Institutes of Public Health were mentioned as a source of information. Focus groups specified that distribution of information should mainly occur via offline digital media (television, radio) and in addition, printed media (brochures and posters).

Some of the identified networks could have an educational purpose and potential for dissemination of information. The participants’ searching behaviour is not exclusive to information of vaccines, but most of the time participants are looking for information on vaccines in combination with health issues.

This research provided valuable insights on older adults’ perspective in their decision making process on vaccinations. This information is very important to include in the educational and training platforms for healthcare professionals. The work package 4 team is busy writing an article on the findings of the focus group study.

About Work Package 4

The goal of Work Package 4 is to develop strategies to educate and train health care professionals and to promote awareness among stakeholders involved in elderly care management. Therefore the next project of the team will be to capture the perspective of the healthcare professionals on older adult vaccination. The aim will be to identify their needs of information and explore the network of healthcare professionals around them. Read more about Work Package 4