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New Report: Young Adult Perspectives on the COVID-19 Vaccine

September 8, 2021
Contact: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento
(785) 760-6567 |

New Report: Young Adult Perspectives on the COVID-19 Vaccine

(Washington, DC) – Today, Young Invincibles released their new report, “Young Adult Perspectives on the COVID-19 Vaccine.” The report details findings from a series of facilitated discussions with young adults nationwide about their concerns, motivations, and issues of access related to the COVID-19 vaccine. Between April and July 2021, Young Invincibles conducted nine facilitated discussions with a diverse group of 84 young adults between 18-34 years old. One-quarter of the diverse sample of participants were unvaccinated at the time of the discussion.

Among the unvaccinated participants, the vast majority cited misinformation, confusion, or not feeling well-informed enough to make a decision as the main reasons they were not vaccinated. Participants often pointed to mixed messages about young adults and COVID; many believed it was less important for younger adults to be vaccinated, and the main reason in doing so was to protect others, not themselves. Coupled with this misinformation, nearly all young adult participants cited access issues to getting vaccinated. The most common issues identified were:

  • Confusion or misinformation
  • Transportation
  • Internet access
  • Time off work
  • Concerns about documentation status
  • Language access

In addition to identifying access barriers preventing young people from getting vaccinated, we asked the young adult participants about motivations that move those who have been waiting to choose vaccination. There is no one answer to persuading all young adults to get the COVID vaccine. In order to reach more young adults, we must take a number of measures, including:

  • Dispelling misinformation with clear, accurate, plain language guidance. While misinformation runs the gamut from conflicting information about young adult risk to COVID to conspiracy theories, it’s important to address young adult questions and concerns with respect, and to provide answers to these questions without dismissal. Messaging should include clear, accurate information, while addressing these concerns rather than ignoring them.
  • Meet them where they are. Vaccine sites need to be readily available in as many locations as young adults frequent as possible. Many young adults cited transportation issues, and an inability to miss time from work. To combat that, employers should bring vaccine pop-up sites to workplaces, college campuses should host pop-up sites, mobile sites should be made available and widely advertised. Some young adult participants were unaware that grocery stores and pharmacies were vaccine sites, implying that advertising may need to better target young adults in their communities.
  • Seek out multiple messengers. No one set of messengers or messages will reach the entire young adult population; messages need to be delivered from multiple trusted sources and avenues. This means peers, community figures, authority figures, religious leaders, celebrities, influencers, and medical professionals.
  • Institutional requirements have a positive impact on vaccine uptake. Requiring the vaccine, especially at work and at school, may counterintuitively lower the degree of anxiety some young adults with low vaccine confidence feel around vaccination. They may be appropriate in some contexts.

Read more here.