Understanding attitudes and beliefs regarding COVID-19 vaccines among transitional-aged youth with mental health concerns: a youth-led qualitative study.

Understanding attitudes and beliefs regarding COVID-19 vaccines among transitional-aged youth with mental health concerns: a youth-led qualitative study.

Publication date: Jan 18, 2024

Transitional-aged youth (16-29 years) with mental health concerns have experienced a disproportionate burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccination is limited in this population; however, determinants of its vaccine hesitancy are not yet thoroughly characterised. This study aimed to answer the following research question: What are the beliefs and attitudes of youth with mental illness about COVID-19 vaccines, and how do these perspectives affect vaccine acceptance? The study aims to generate findings to inform the development of vaccine resources specific to youth with mental health concerns. A qualitative methodology with a youth engagement focus was used to conduct in-depth semistructured interviews with transitional-aged youth aged 16-29 years with one or more self-reported mental health diagnoses or concerns. Mental health concerns encompassed a wide range of symptoms and diagnoses, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and personality disorders. Participants were recruited from seven main mental health clinical and support networks across Canada. Transcripts from 46 youth and 6 family member interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Two major themes were generated: (1) factors affecting trust in COVID-19 vaccines and (2) mental health influences and safety considerations in vaccine decision-making. Subthemes included trust in vaccines, trust in healthcare providers, trust in government and mistreatment towards racialised populations, and direct and indirect influences of mental health. Our analysis suggests how lived experiences of mental illness affected vaccine decision-making and related factors that can be targeted to increase vaccine uptake. Our findings provide new insights into vaccine attitudes among youth with mental health concerns, which is highly relevant to ongoing vaccination efforts for new COVID-19 strains as well as other transmissible diseases and future pandemics. Next steps include cocreating youth-specific public health and clinical resources to encourage vaccination in this population.

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Concepts Keywords
Canada Adolescent
Future COVID-19
Racialised Public health


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease VO vaccination
disease VO population
disease VO vaccine
disease MESH mental illness
disease MESH disorders anxiety
disease MESH neurodevelopmental disorders
disease MESH personality disorders
disease VO Canada
disease MESH Vaccine Preventable Diseases
disease MESH mood disorders
disease VO effective
disease MESH measles
pathway KEGG Measles
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease MESH Infection
disease MESH morbidity
disease MESH sequelae
disease VO organ
disease VO Gap
disease IDO susceptibility
disease VO report
pathway REACTOME Translation
disease VO vaccinated
disease VO dose
disease VO unvaccinated
disease IDO intervention
disease IDO process
disease VO effectiveness
drug DRUGBANK Polyethylene glycol
drug DRUGBANK Iron
disease MESH Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
disease MESH Autism
disease MESH Borderline personality disorder
disease MESH Post traumatic stress disorder
disease MESH Psychosis
disease MESH Bipolar disorder
disease VO Viruses
disease VO Thing
disease IDO history
disease VO time
disease MESH phobia
drug DRUGBANK Trestolone
disease VO protocol
disease VO vaccine dose
disease VO Equity
disease MESH emergency
disease VO USA
disease VO immunization
disease VO vaccination coverage
drug DRUGBANK Carboxyamidotriazole
disease MESH Infectious Disease

Original Article

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