Youth in a pandemic: A youth-led photovoice exploration of COVID‑19 vaccine confidence

Henderson, Joanna L | $196,750

Ontario Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

Youth have been uniquely affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic. Despite high rates of infection among youth, they have only become eligible for vaccination later in the vaccine rollout, and may be more hesitant to be vaccinated. Empowering youth to make informed choices about their health is key to public health equity. Photovoice is a research method that engages participants in understanding their world through an arts-based approach. Participants create knowledge through their real-world lived experience and expertise, using photography to represent their understanding of an issue. Photovoice has been shown to improve health knowledge and to empower marginalized populations. We propose a youth-led photovoice project that will solicit critical perspectives on COVID‑19 confidence and hesitancy. From a SPOR approach, youth will lead the project, including a youth research assistant supported by a youth project steering committee, with support from experienced researchers. Thirty-five youth from across Canada will participate in a series of supported activities in which they will take photos representing their perspectives on COVID‑19 vaccine confidence. We will then hold focus group discussions with them to understand the perspectives that emerged through the photovoice activities and to record critical dialog on COVID‑19 vaccine confidence from the perspectives of Canadian youth. Knowledge mobilization activities will include conventional academic outputs (papers, conference presentations), government-focus reports, virtual photography galas, an online gallery, a virtual art sale, press releases, and social media campaigns. Together, these activities will ensure that the findings reach a variety of relevant stakeholders, including youth, the broader community, the media, government, youth-serving organizations, and policymakers.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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