Understanding the influence of individual and systemic factors on vaccination take-up in European citizens aged 55 or older

Background: High vaccination coverage provides extensive public health benefits. Hence, increasing vaccination rates is an important policy goal within the EU and worldwide. We aim to evaluate individual and systemic parameters associated with vaccination in European Union citizens aged 55 or older, using data from the Special Eurobarometer 488.

Methods: Linear probability and probit models are estimated to analyze the determinants of vaccination take-up. Further, descriptive analyses are used to explore how the reasons for not having a vaccination differ by welfare regime.

Results: High knowledge about the effectiveness and safety of vaccination increases the probability of receiving a vaccination during the past five years by 26 percentage points (pp), medium knowledge increases it by 15 pp. Focusing on the specific case of the flu, official recommendations increase this probability by, on average, 6 pp; while having to pay out-of-pocket for a recommended vaccination decreases it by, on average, 10 pp. Furthermore, the differences for no vaccination differ widely across welfare systems and television is the primary source for information about vaccination.

Conclusions: Reported vaccination rates in Europe fall far below targets set by official recommendations. Increasing vaccination knowledge and offering vaccinations free of charge can help to increase vaccination rates. A specific focus should be put on reaching individuals with potential difficulties of access such as those living alone and unemployed.


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