New publication!

A new journal article, led by Dr Maria Christou-Ergos, has just been published in BMC Geriatrics.

Christou-Ergos M, Leask J, Wiley KE, (2024) The experience of traumatic events, psychological distress, and social support: links to COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and trends with age in a group of older Australians, BMC Geriatrics, 24, 302.

The abstract is below. Click here to see the full article.


Vaccination is important to reduce disease-associated morbidity and mortality in an ageing global population. While older adults are more likely than younger adults to accept vaccines, some remain hesitant. We sought to understand how traumatic events, psychological distress and social support contribute to older adults’ intention to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and whether these experiences change with age.


We analysed survey data collected as part of the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study in a population of Australian adults aged 60 years and over. Data were derived from the COVID Insights study; a series of supplementary surveys about how participants experienced the COVID-19 pandemic.


Higher intention to receive a COVID-19 vaccine was associated with greater social support (adjusted odds ratio (aOR):1.08; 95%CI:1.06–1.11; p <.001) while lower intention was associated with personally experiencing a serious illness, injury or assault in the last 12 months (aOR:0.79; 95% CI:0.64–0.98; p =.03). Social support and the experience of traumatic events increased significantly with age, while psychological distress decreased.


There may be factors beyond disease-associated risks that play a role in vaccine acceptance with age. Older Australians on the younger end of the age spectrum may have specific needs to address their hesitancy that may be overlooked.