Thursday, May 3, 2018

Vaccinate to Encourage Seniors’ Vaccinating

A technique, both highly influential and broadly underused, to encourage elderly adults to protect themselves against vaccination preventable diseases (VPDs) is for those working with the elderly adults to stay current on their own vaccinations. This is according to a review of the status of vaccinations among seniors which was led by researchers at GSK in Belgium and included collaborators from Austria, Canada, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.S.
     Keeping current with vaccinations is especially important for seniors because as we age, our immune system becomes less effective at generating the antibodies afterwards. Using a vaccine with higher doses of the antigen does not overcome the problem. A regimen of more frequent vaccinations can.
     But seniors themselves and the health care professionals serving seniors are not sufficiently conscientious about following the regimen. As a consequence, in the U.S. for instance, about 99% of deaths from VPDs are among adults aged 60 years and above.
     The researchers found that one significant reason health care professionals are not monitoring the adherence is the health care professionals aren’t convinced of the value of vaccinations among the elderly. Contributing to this might be those reports that the immune system response of seniors is compromised.
     However, studies have also discovered that if public health programs place a special emphasis on seniors getting vaccinated, this has the ironic side effect of indicating to the health care professionals, who are generally younger adults, that vaccinations are relatively less important for them. Yet modeling is an influential tool for persuasion agents. Our customers, clients, and patients will place more trust in what we recommend when we ourselves are following those recommendations which apply to us.
     As in other realms of selling to the consumer, expertise is earned. Patients might not expect you to know everything, but they do expect you to get the answer when you don't know and to do a personal handoff to another expert as necessary.
     A touch of humility actually makes it more likely you’ll be accepted as an expert. Avoid coming across to the customer as absolutely certain in the recommendations you're making. A bit of uncertainty makes the patient more comfortable asking questions. For instance, concerns about the safety of vaccinations are common. Those questions are highly valuable when you’re facilitating the sale. You can present counterarguments or steer the consumer toward alternatives which will better fit their preferences.

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