Communicating about COVID-19 vaccines with young adults: preferences, attitudes, and influences on decisions to get vaccinated
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University of Guelph, Canada
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1621
Background: Young adults have remained one of the least-vaccinated age groups against COVID-19, especially for third and fourth vaccine doses. As such, understanding key motivators and barriers for vaccine uptake is essential for developing effective health communication that encourages them to get vaccinated. In our study we sought to understand the factors that motivated young adults to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the type of health information that young adults have received during the pandemic, and the communication needs and preferences of young adults. Methods: Fifteen Canadian post-secondary students (aged 18-29) participated in semi-structured interviews where they were asked about the influence of various public health information on their decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Interview transcripts were then coded for common topics, and a thematic analysis was conducted to uncover major themes from the interviews. Results: Four major themes regarding decisions to vaccinate emerged from our study population. 1) Participants had high science and health literacy which shielded them from being influenced by misinformation; 2) Participants expressed high trust in official sources which positively impacted their confidence in the vaccines; 3) Participants exhibited a low perceived risk from COVID-19 infection and their decision to vaccinate was influenced by factors beyond personal protection; 4) Participants responded best to communication that they perceived to be targeted and tailored towards them and messages that met their communication needs had a positive influence on their decision to vaccinate. Conclusions: Together these themes form a foundation for effective vaccine communication campaigns targeted and tailored towards young adults. Our findings provide strategies for the creation of public health messages that meet the needs of this population, which is essential for gaining their trust during future public health crises.
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