Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Gorga SM, Brandt EJ, Rosenberg J, Waselewski ME, Amaro X, Chang T. Youth Perceptions of Vaccination for COVID-19 in the United States. JAMA Health Forum. 2021;2(8):e212103. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.2103
Recent increases in COVID-19 cases are associated to infections among a younger population in the US.1 In a focused survey administered prior to vaccine emergency use authorizations (EUAs), 2 in 5 US youths reported willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19, whereas 1 in 3 were uncertain.2 Since then, the US has implemented a mass immunization campaign.3 Widespread vaccine uptake among youth is essential to achieve adequate community immunization levels to attenuate the COVID-19 pandemic.4 We therefore collected the thoughts and opinions from a diverse sample of US youth after the initiation of mass immunization campaigns regarding COVID-19 vaccine acceptability, perceived barriers to vaccination, and anticipated changes in behavior.
Respondents were part of the MyVoice Poll of Youth, a national text message survey that collects the perspectives of youth (aged 14-24 years) on health and policy issues.5 Youths are recruited on a rolling basis to match national demographic benchmarks, including self-reported age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, and region of the country, based on weighted samples from the American Community Survey. This study was approved by the University of Michigan institutional review board, including a waiver of parental consent for minor participants. This study followed the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) reporting guidelines. Online consent was obtained from all participants. Five open-ended questions were fielded on March 12, 2021, via text message regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
The authors developed a codebook through qualitative thematic analysis of responses. Responses were independently coded by 2 investigators (S.M.G., E.J.B., J.R., M.W., X.A.) using discussion to reach consensus. When appropriate, close-ended questions were first categorized (eg, yes, no) and the associated open-ended questions (“Why or why not?”) were then coded using thematic analysis to provide additional insight into these questions. Summary statistics of demographic data and code frequencies were calculated. Analyses were completed using Stata statistical software (version 16; StataCorp, LLC).
Of 1155 participants, 1074 responded to at least 1 question (response rate, 93%). The demographic characteristics of these respondents are shown in Table 1. In brief, respondents most commonly identified as male (n = 526 [49.0%]), and non-Hispanic–White individuals (n = 661 [61.7%]), with a mean (SD) age of 19.3 (2.4) years.
Table 2 summarizes the major themes, with representative quotes by question. Overall 797 of 1068 youth respondents (74.6%) were interested in getting vaccinated to protect themselves and return to normal (“Yes I will because I want to help stop the spread as well as get back to normal as soon as possible”). Of 1009 youth respondents, most were concerned about adverse effects (422 [41.8%]) and the effectiveness if the vaccine (118 [11.7%]), whereas 324 (32.1%) had no concerns. Of 990 youth respondents, 721 (72.8%) believed the vaccines are safe and/or effective, citing their trust in science (145 [20.1%]) and data (221 [30.7%]). To facilitate vaccination, youths indicated that they seek an easy sign-up process (“A simple streamlined process that’s centralized”) and locations close to them. Most youth also reported that they will continue mitigating behaviors such as wearing a mask even after vaccination.
Whether or not to vaccinate against COVID-19 is an important health care decision many parents will soon make for their children and young adults must make for themselves. These findings indicate that youth respondents in this large, diverse sample were interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Our findings are limited to self-reported perceptions at the time of survey and do not necessarily predict future behavior. As younger demographic groups become eligible for vaccination,6 vaccination sites must be located in places that are convenient for youth and families, reduce complexity around making appointments, and must be prepared to administer vaccines to children.
Despite widespread trust in science and data, and a desire to return to normalcy, youth reported being concerned about short- and long-term adverse effects. Campaigns and educational programs can emphasize the safe and effective vaccination of millions of recipients in the US thus far and the integral role that widespread vaccination plays in returning to their usual activities.
Accepted for Publication: June 18, 2021.
Published: August 20, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2021.2103
Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Gorga SM et al. JAMA Health Forum.
Corresponding Author: Stephen M. Gorga, MD, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr, F-6890, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (email@example.com).
Author Contributions: Dr Gorga had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: Waselewski, Brandt, Amaro, Chang.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Gorga, Brandt, Chang.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Statistical analysis: Gorga, Amaro.
Obtained funding: Chang.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Waselewski, Amaro, Chang.
Supervision: Waselewski, Chang.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Funding/Support: This research was funded by the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research and the University of Michigan Departments of Internal and Family Medicine.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research and the University of Michigan Departments of Internal and Family Medicine had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.