A mixed methods study to understand and promote COVID‑19 vaccination among children and youth: the TARGetKids! Study of Children and Families

Maguire, Jonathon L | $499,861

Ontario Unity Health Toronto 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Vaccinating children and youth against COVID‑19 is essential to resuming essential social and economic activities. Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID‑19 vaccines are approved for individuals 12 years of age and older in Canada. Clinical trials for children younger than 12 years of age are underway, and COVID‑19 vaccines are expected to be available for children of all ages soon. To date, little is known about vaccine hesitancy for pediatric COVID‑19 vaccination. Vaccination decision-making is a complex process influenced by multiple factors. In order to guide the development of strategies to promote equitable COVID‑19 vaccine distribution for children, high-quality evidence from a diverse population of children and parents is needed to understand COVID‑19 vaccine uptake and hesitancy as well as the factors which influence vaccine decision-making among children, their parents, and primary healthcare providers. In April 2020, we utilized Canada’s largest children’s primary care research network, The Applied Research Group for Kids (TARGetKids!), to collect COVID‑19 related data on children and their parents, including emerging data on COVID‑19 vaccination. We now have extensive data on multiple health and well-being measures from children and their parents pre and during the pandemic. We propose to extend this work to understand COVID‑19 vaccination among children, youth, their parents, and primary healthcare providers over the next year. With detailed socio-demographic data collected from a diverse population (one in three children participating in the TARGetKids! COVID‑19 Study are ethnic minorities), we will provide high-quality evidence to guide the development of strategies to enhance COVID‑19 vaccine acceptability, curtail vaccine hesitancy, and promote equitable vaccine distribution.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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