Younger children are less willing to get the Covid-19 jab than older teens, a new study has shown, as experts said more work needs to be done to improve access to vaccine information for these groups. is required.
About 36 per cent of nine-year-olds and 51 per cent of 13-year-olds are ready to be vaccinated, while 78 per cent of 17-year-olds are ready to be vaccinated. England.
The research, led by scientists from UCL and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, also found that those who are less inclined often come from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, believing they have already had COVID-19. and they don’t feel a part of it. school community.
Sir Andrew Pollard, Professor of Pediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, said the findings suggested that adequate information and support was not provided through appropriate platforms such as social media for children and young adolescents.
“This study is extremely important because it shows that there is some indecision, especially among young adolescents,” he said at a science briefing on Monday. “We’ve missed a really important group in making sure they have access to information.
“I think it may well be because, over the past year, our focus has been on adults with the highest rates of disease.”
The study, which ran from May to July this year, surveyed more than 27,000 students from 180 schools in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Merseyside.
The only large-scale study of its kind, the survey asked children aged nine to 18 years about their views on vaccination against COVID-19.
Overall, half were willing to be vaccinated, 37 percent were undecided and 13 percent wanted to opt out. But the larger the pupil, the more likely they are to accept an offer of a vaccine.
The higher number of older adolescents willing to receive the jab is comparable with the adult population, and reflects greater access to a wider pool of traditional and non-traditional information sources, the researchers said.
“Young children often defer to their parents, or primary caregivers, to make decisions about health care and vaccinations,” said Meena Fazal, MD, an associate professor in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
“Our data show how important it is to provide good quality, accessible information to enable our young population to understand more about the COVID-19 vaccine and its effects.”
Prof Fazal said more needs to be done to harness the types of social media platforms that are commonly used by children and young teenagers, such as TikTok and Snapchat. This is “an area we need to learn about,” she said, adding that “it is at our peril to ignore”.
The study found that the youth who are most hesitant about the vaccine use social media more.
“They don’t access their information by reading the newspaper or watching the broadcast news,” Professor Pollard said. “We need to provide this age group with information and we need to use the structures they will reach.”
Russell Viner, professor of adolescent health at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London and one of the study’s co-authors, said it was “essential” that officials involved in the current immunization of 12 to 15-year-olds also “access” vaccination and Connect with youth from poor families and communities with low levels of confidence in the health system.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /