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Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccine in Older Adults Increasing, but Challenges in Registration and Access Continue

3/09/21
SilverSneakers Pulse Survey Compares Seniors' Perceptions Before and After Vaccine Availability

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 75% of seniors are willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine immediately, up from 47% in November, according to a new national survey. However, only 22% believe they will have quick and easy access to a vaccine, emphasizing the need to reduce barriers to access to increase adoption among this population.

Released by Tivity Health® Inc. (Nasdaq: TVTY), a leading provider of health improvement solutions, including SilverSneakers®, the nation's leading community fitness program for older adults, these findings are part of a new SilverSneakers Pulse survey, "Trust, Timing, and COVID: A Vaccine Study Among U.S. Seniors – Round 2," consisting of more than 4,500 responses from SilverSneakers members across the country.

Conducted in February 2021, this special survey aims to understand seniors' perceptions of the Coronavirus vaccine and highlight changes from the first survey on this topic deployed in November 2020. Round 1 coincided with Pfizer and Moderna both announcing the production of vaccines that are more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Round 2 closed just days ago now that more than 13% of the U.S. population, and nearly 50% of seniors, have received the vaccine.

"Our new SilverSneakers Pulse survey shows that seniors are much more inclined to get vaccinated as soon as possible, a positive change from the 'wait and see' attitude from last November, which is very encouraging," said Richard Ashworth, president and CEO of Tivity Health. "Now, we need to focus on delivering accurate information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, and on making the vaccine available in places where seniors typically go, like their doctor's office or pharmacy, to improve access. We also know that minority, low-income and rural seniors are not as likely to be vaccinated, so targeted communications and support to drive adoption in those populations is critical."

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.

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. 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.

Among the respondents who have received the vaccine, 95% were satisfied with the overall experience at the vaccination site, but almost half experienced frustration when making the appointment. When asked if there were any other reasons that would make them a lot less likely to get the vaccine, many expressed registering for a vaccine appointment was widely challenging:

  • "Finding it more and more difficult to access sites and phone lines that are always busy. You just want to throw up your hands and chuck it all--days wasted for nothing."
  • "The process to get the vaccine is like a scavenger hunt and a full-time job. A mess."
  • "Very frustrating trying to get appointment. No way to tell where you are on list."
  • "I have not been able to get vaccinated due to no availability of vaccine or I would get the vaccine immediately."

Among those who have not yet been vaccinated, 75% now say they will adopt within a month, a dramatic shift from Round 1 (47%). 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%).

For more information and to view the full survey findings, visit the "Insights" section of the Tivity Health website at www.TivityHealth.com.

About SilverSneakers
SilverSneakers®, by Tivity Health, is the nation's leading community fitness program for older Americans. The program was founded in 1992 and is available to more than 16 million Americans through many Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers, and group retiree plans. For more information, to check eligibility or to enroll in the program or sign up for a SilverSneakers newsletter, go to silversneakers.com.

About Tivity Health
Tivity Health® Inc. (Nasdaq: TVTY) is a leading provider of healthy life-changing solutions, including SilverSneakers®, Prime® Fitness, WholeHealth Living® and Wisely WellTM. We are focused on becoming the modern destination for healthy living. We will expand beyond fitness by establishing an engagement platform that enables personalized member interaction with all our offerings, and we will partner with other payors and service providers to aggregate services to seniors under the SilverSneakers umbrella. The continued development of our suite of digital offerings will enable a more tailored, interactive, and impactful experience across a variety of areas, including fitness, social connection, community involvement, volunteering, and enrichment. Learn more at www.tivityhealth.com.

 

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SOURCE Tivity Health

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