Understanding vaccine confidence and decision-making among Canadian youth: Survey and intervention development

Ames, Megan E | $170,329

British Columbia University of Victoria 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, recently called into action young people to receive the COVID‑19 vaccine, stating they are less likely to “offer their arm.” Canadian research conducted earlier in the pandemic (i.e., May-Dec, 2020) indicated that 35%-42% of youth ages 15-24 years reported being unsure or unwilling to receive the vaccine due to concerns about safety, efficacy, and a general lack of knowledge regarding vaccines. As of July 31, 2021, only 47% of 12-17-year-olds and 51% of 18-29-year-olds were fully vaccinated (73% and 70% at least one dose, respectively), demonstrating a need to understand and address vaccine confidence in this underrepresented population. To address this priority, we will first test a model of vaccine confidence in Canadian youth (ages 12-29 years) by answering the following questions: 1. What are the rates of vaccine acceptance among Canadian youth? 2. What are the key factors associated with COVID‑19 vaccine acceptance and uptake among Canadian youth? 3. What factors are associated with COVID‑19 vaccine acceptance and uptake among equity-seeking groups? Second, there has been limited information targeted towards youth, with most youth relying on parents or the internet to obtain health information, with this reliance associated with increased conspiracy beliefs and vaccine hesitancy in the literature. Social media and app-based methods have been shown to be appropriate for health messaging to young people. In collaboration with two youth advisories, we will co-develop, design, and disseminate a youth-focused app and social media ad campaign that aim to increase vaccine confidence among Canadian youth. Results will aid the public health response to the pandemic by generating high-quality information about drivers of vaccine hesitancy, and informing how to best approach fostering vaccine confidence among youth. Outputs will include youth targeted interventions developed by and for this underrepresented population.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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