The majority of youth surveyed in the US indicated they were willing to be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. These findings from a national cohort study were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

An ongoing, national text message-based polling system targeting youth and young adults aged 14 to 24 years (MyVoice) was used to recruit individuals via social media. Participants (N=911) were asked 5 open-ended questions about COVID-19 vaccine willingness on October 30, 2020.

The response rate of the 1147 youth contacted was 79.4%. Responses were obtained from a population with a median age of 18 (interquartile range [IQR], 17-21) years. Of the participants, 48% identified as girls or women, 64% as White, and 13% as Hispanic.


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Most (75.9%) indicated they were willing to some degree to be vaccinated, and 42.7% of them indicated unconditional willingness. Among those who were not committed to vaccination, 80.7% said they could be swayed if vaccines were proven safe by reliable scientists.

The most frequently cited reason for being vaccinated was to protect family, friends, and the community from infection.

The individuals who were unwilling to be vaccinated (20.2%) reported there have not been sufficient trials to prove vaccine safety.

The only significant predictor of vaccine unwillingness was ethnicity, in which Black participants were more unwilling to be vaccinated (odds ratio [OR], 3.31) and Asian individuals less unwilling (OR, 0.46; P <.001) compared with White individuals.

Major concerns about the vaccines were stated as bad side effects (36.2%), efficacy (20.1%), rushed vaccine development (18.8%), and safety issues (16.2%).

Trusted sources for information about the vaccines included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (42.3%); health care providers and facilities including pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hospitals, and clinics (31.7%); and the internet (17.8%), among others. Few indicated they used social media to obtain vaccine information (2.5%).

This study was biased by its low sample size and the likelihood of selection bias.

These data indicated that most adolescents and young adults in the US were willing to be vaccinated and sought information from reliable sources. Increased outreach to the Black community is likely to be needed to foster trust and increase vaccination rates.

Reference

Brandt EJ, Rosenberg J, Waselewski ME, Amaro X, Wasag J, Chang T. National study of youth opinions on vaccination for COVID-19 in the U.S. J Adolesc Health. 2021;68(5):869-872. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.02.013

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor