Vaccine-preventable diseases cause significant illness, hospitalization, pain, disability, and death in the United States, particularly when it comes to older adults.
New Resources Empower Older Adults to Bust Disinformation on Vaccines and Get Their Annual Flu Shots
Published September 13, 2021
Older Adults Have An Important Role to Play in Sharing the Truth About Vaccines
WASHINGTON, September 13, 2021 – Today, the Alliance for Aging Research (“Alliance”) released new resources to empower older adults with the information they need to combat misinformation and disinformation about vaccines so they can share the facts with their friends and loved ones. The educational materials and television PSAs are also aimed at helping older adults take control of their own health with key information about vaccines as we head into flu season.
The first new resource is a fact sheet titled “The Truth About Vaccines” that debunks commonly shared misinformation and disinformation about vaccines in general, and COVID-19 vaccines in particular. Since the start of the pandemic, people have been exposed to an abundance of misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general. While misinformation is false information created and spread regardless of intent to harm or deceive, disinformation is a type of misinformation that is designed to be deliberately deceptive. Both forms cause massive confusion and fear, and lead people to decline vaccines and reject other scientifically proven health and safety measures. Because older adults are often turned to as a trusted resource by their families and communities, knowing how to spot falsehoods is critical. A recent survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Engine Group on behalf of the Alliance found that only 43 percent of respondents are very confident or somewhat confident about the credibility of vaccine information they see online.
The Alliance has also released a new educational video, “Our Best Shot: Preventing and Treating the Flu,” that highlights the importance of the annual influenza (“flu”) vaccine for older adults, who are at higher risk of serious flu-related complications and even death. The recent survey also found that 75 percent of respondents have never heard of a high-dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine—both of which are designed to boost the immune responses of older adults who often have declining immune systems. The new film encourages older adults to get the flu vaccine that is best for them. (Please contact us for full survey results.) The new film encourages older adults to speak with their healthcare providers to learn about the different flu vaccines and which one is right for them.
“Vaccines are our best shot at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from influenza and COVID-19. Our new resources include effective, pre-emptive messages that help fight off and resist future incorrect messages. They are meant to provide the facts as well as help older adults debunk rumors, myths, and conspiracy theories with confidence and conviction, ” said Lindsay Clarke, Vice President of Health Education and Advocacy at the Alliance for Aging Research. “Older people are often in unique positions of influence to prevent the spread of false information and encourage vaccination in their communities.
In addition to releasing these important resources, the Alliance is joining Generations United on September 13 at 1 p.m. ET, the day after Grandparent’s Day, to host a webinar titled “The Truth About Vaccines: How to Stop Disinformation and Promote Vaccines Across the Generations.” Donna Butts, Executive Director of Generations United, Dr. Todd Wolynn a vaccine misinformation specialist and Chief Executive Officer of Kids+ Pediatrics, and Lindsay Clarke, Vice President of Health Education and Advocacy at the Alliance for Aging Research, will share important facts about vaccinations with older adults who are often the truth-tellers in their families and communities.
About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance believes advances in research help people live longer, happier, more productive lives and reduce healthcare costs over the long term. For more than 30 years, the Alliance has guided efforts to substantially increase funding and focus for aging at the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration; built influential coalitions to guide groundbreaking regulatory improvements for age-related diseases; and created award-winning, high-impact educational materials to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their family caregivers. For more information, visit www.agingresearch.org