The COVID-19 YPAR Project: Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to Explore the Context of Ethnic Minority Youth Responses to COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States and United Kingdom
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Despite progress in COVID-19 vaccination rates overall in the US and UK, vaccine inequity persists as young people from minoritised and/or deprived communities are often less likely to be vaccinated. COVID-19 ‘vaccine hesitancy’ is not just an issue of misinformation or lack of information. ‘Vaccine hesitancy’ among young people is reflective of wider issues such as mistrust in the state or the medical establishment and negative experiences during the pandemic. This report is based on case study research conducted among young people (ages 12-18) in Cleveland, Ohio, US and the London borough of Ealing, UK. Whilst public discourse may label young people as ‘vaccine hesitant,’ we found that there were differences based on social location and place and this labelling may portray young people as ‘ignorant.’ We found the greatest vaccine hesitancy among older youth (15+ years old), particularly those from minoritised and deprived communities. Unvaccinated youth were also more likely to be from families and friend groups that were unvaccinated. While some expressed distrust of the vaccines, others reported that COVID-19 prevention was not a priority in their lives, but instead concerns over food security, livelihood, and education take precedence. Minoritised youth were more likely to report negative experiences with authorities, including teachers at their schools and police in their communities. Our findings demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is embedded in a context that drives relationships of mistrust between minoritised and deprived communities and the state, with implications for COVID-19 vaccine uptake. Young people’s attitudes toward vaccines are further patterned by experiences within their community, school, family, and friend groups.
CitationSchmidt-Sane, M.; Hrynick, T.; Benninger, E.; McGrath, J.; Ripoll, S. and Schulte, J. (2022) Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to Explore the Context of Ethnic Minority Youth Responses to COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States and United Kingdom, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2022.072
Rights holderInstitute of Development Studies
- IDS Research