Can primary care physician recommendation improve influenza vaccine uptake among older adults? A community health centre-based experimental study in China

Shenzhen, a city in China, provides free influenza vaccination to its residents aged 60 years and above through community health centres (CHCs) since October 2016. An experiment was conducted by asking the primary care physicians (PCPs) to proactively recommend influenza vaccination to patients above age 60.

Read more to know how the PCP recommendation influenced the influenza vaccine uptake, knowledge, attitude, and practice levels among older adults.


To promote influenza vaccination coverage, a Chinese megacity, Red. A community health centre-based experiment was conducted by asking primary care physicians (PCPs) working in the intervention health centres to proactively recommend influenza vaccination to their patients aged 60 and above during their patients' visits.


This study used an experimental design and a survey design. The experimental design evaluated the effect of PCP recommendation on influenza vaccination. A total of 24 CHCs were randomly selected as the intervention (involving 3814 participants) and control (3072 participants) group evenly. The intervention study period was during the 2017-2018 flu season. The 2016-2017 flu season was considered as the baseline comparison. The survey design examined changes in knowledge, attitude, and practice of influenza vaccination among older participants before and after the free influenza vaccination implementation. We randomly invited 1200 participants aged 60 and above during their visits to CHCs in October 2016 and followed them up until October 2017; among them, 958 participants completed the follow-up survey using the same questionnaire.


In the 2017-2018 flu season, 1,100 more patients got vaccinated in the intervention group under PCP recommendation compared with the 2016-2017 flu season. Among the 958 older adults in the post-implementation period, 77.5% had heard about the influenza vaccine, which was 24.7% higher than in the pre-implementation period; 84.8% of participants were aware where to take influenza vaccines, with the most improvement of 37.2% among all knowledge related questions; 62.5% of them agreed that patients with chronic diseases should have influenza vaccine, which was 19.1% higher than those being surveyed before the implementation period. About 83.6% of participants agreed older adults should have influenza vaccine, but there were still 58.4% who considered themselves too healthy to get vaccinated.


PCP recommendation improved influenza vaccine uptake and knowledge, attitude, and practice levels regarding influenza vaccination among older adults. More health policies and health education should be made to raise vaccination willingness and improve vaccination coverage among older adults.

For more details on the article



    You Y, Li X, Jiang S , et. al. BMC Prim Care. 2023 Jan 17;24(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s12875-023-01980-3.

You May Also Like