43% of adults feel that they lack knowledge about adult vaccines


GSK today announced the findings from the ‘Vaccinate for Life’ survey carried out between the dates of July 6th to September 14th whereby 2,002 adults across 6 cities in India were surveyed (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai). The survey was aimed at ascertaining the awareness and attitudes towards vaccination throughout life among adults aged 18 years and over.

Highlights of the survey in India are as below:

While 42% of adults ranked staying in good physical health as the primary priority to them in life, staying up-to-date with vaccinations is typically less important compared with other ways of staying healthy such as eating healthily, keeping active and not smoking, particularly among males.


  1. The majority of adults surveyed in India believe that although vaccines are an effective way to prevent serious illness, however:
    1. 34% believe them only to be required for travel purposes
    2. 38% believe vaccinations are for children and/or babies only
    3. 26% believe vaccinations are not required if one is fit and healthy
    4. 19% believe vaccinations are for the older population only
  2. 43% of the adults surveyed consider themselves to be not very/not at all knowledgeable about adult vaccines
  3. Almost half (49%) of adults are most likely to turn to HCPs for advice on vaccinations over any other source of information
  4. Of those adults who have not consulted an HCP about adult vaccines in the past year, the key barriers are trust in their HCP to inform them of relevant vaccines combined with a lack of conversation with their HCP on the need to vaccinate throughout adulthood (75% of adults agreeing). Between 45% and 50% of adults listed Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Influenza and the HPV vaccine as most relevant to the 18-64 years’ audience
    1. Awareness of other vaccines which may be relevant is relatively low
    2. 31% of adults surveyed have not received any vaccination in the past five years

Adults value a range of information sources in helping them to understand record and track the vaccinations which are relevant to them → online tools, booklets and text messaging being the most useful
Speaking about the Vaccinate for Life survey, – A. Vaidheesh, Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited said, “The results of the survey highlight the crying need for awareness about adult vaccination in the country. Most people are familiar with the importance of vaccination in childhood however vaccination is equally important throughout life: for adolescents, adults and older people. According to the UNICEF and the World Bank, only clean drinking water rivals vaccination in its ability to save lives2. Despite this longstanding recommendation, the adult vaccination numbers are substantially low. The main reason behind this is a lack of general awareness – a fact that is amply established by the results of the survey.”

Speaking about the campaign, Dr. Shafi Kolhapure, Vice President Medical Affairs Vaccines, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited said, “The Vaccinate for Life campaign has been created in response to the global health need for increased adult vaccination rates. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that immunisation is one of the most cost-effective interventions in public health and as one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers, GSK is committed to creating general awareness about vaccines and to partner with others to encourage vaccination throughout life.”

Kolkata Data

The survey brought out some interesting results from Kolkata too. 29% of adults classified staying in good health as their top priority, followed by being comfortable financially at 26%, a successful career at 16%, raising a family at 11%, owning a house at 9%, and travelling the world at 4%. In terms of staying up-to-date with healthy habits, most Kolkatans i.e. 71% listed eating healthy at the top. Next came not smoking voted by 66%, exercising daily – 65%, staying up-to-date with vaccinations – 53%, regular health check-ups – 45%, screening for cancer – 45% and regular dental checks – 31%. 75% of Kolkatan parents believe that keeping up-to-date on their children’s immunisation is far more important than their own.

Belief %age
Adult vaccines are an effective way of helping prevent serious illness 73%
Adult vaccinations are paid for by the government/insurance companies 28%
For adults aged above 18, vaccinations only for travel purposes 33%
Vaccinations not needed if you are healthy 25%
Vaccinations for babies only 43%
Vaccinations for senior population only 26%


As far as trusted sources of information on vaccines, adults depend on a range of options – 69% Kolkatans rated health care professionals as their most trusted source followed by:

  • 38% magazines,
  • 42% friends and family
  • 40% Government websites
  • 35% media reports
  • 21% internet searches,
  • 18% vaccine manufacturer websites
  • 8% bloggers and online forums,
  • 8% said they would go by celebrities’ views too.

(Percentage of adults ranking source of information in their top 3)