More than one-fifth of Generation Z says they don’t plan to get a coronavirus vaccine when it comes available to them, a new survey finds.
Conducted by STAT-Harris Poll, it showed that 23 percent of 18-to-24 year olds are not going to receive a COVID-19 shot.
This is a much higher percentage than the share of Millennials, Generation X or Baby Boomers who reported that they would not be immunized against the virus.
Young people report that part of the reason is because there is no public health messaging specifically tailored to them on federal or state websites.
And when it comes to information on Instagram and TikTok, accounts dedicated to educating college-aged students are far and few between.
A new poll found that 23% of Generation Z respondents said they didn’t plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine and 35% planned to wait and see
Fear of side effects appeared to be the main worry with 59% of 18-to-24 years old saying they were very or somewhat concerned about side effects. Pictured: Leanne Montenegro, 21, covers her eyes as receives the Pfizer COVID-19 in Miami, Florida, April 5
For the poll, 1,948 were surveyed between March 19 and March 21, the 56th wave in a series of surveys on the subject.
Respondents were split into four groups, Generation Z (age 18 to 24), Millennials (age 25 to 40), Generation X (age 41 to 56) and Baby Boomers (age 57 and above).
They were asked several questions about vaccines, including ‘Which of the following best describes your mindset when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you?’
Baby Boomers were the most likely to say they had already received the vaccine with 55 percent having done so.
Eighteen percent of Millennials and Generation X-ers had also already done so compared to just 11 percent of Generation Z-ers.
However, the low number may also be due to the fact that few states had opened eligibility to young adults at the time.
Only 15 percent of young people said they planned to get it the first say they were able to in comparison with nearly 30 percent of Generation X respondents.
A total of 35 percent of Generation Z-ers said they would wait and see about getting the vaccine and 23 percent said they didn’t plan to.
Comparatively, only 17 percent each of Millennials and Generation X-ers planned not to get the vaccine and just 10 percent of Baby Boomers reported the same thing.
Fear of side effects appeared to be the main worry with 59 percent of 18-to-24 years old saying they were very or somewhat concerned about side effects.
Some young people have stated they are worried vaccine will affect their fertility, despite this myth being widely debunked, as explained in this post from the Covid Campus Coalition
Both Generation Z-ers and public health experts have lamented that there is not a lot of vaccine information, such as this post from Johns Hopkins, on social media platforms geared towards young adults
Catriona Fee, a 19-year-old, told STAT News she doesn’t plan to get vaccinated because she is worried she will not be able to get have children in the future.
‘Gen Z…they have to consider, is this going to impact my choices down the road?’ Fee said.
‘For the vaccine, it’s “Is this going to impact my ability to have children?”‘
There is currently no data to show that either female or male fertility is affected by COVID-19 shots.
Fee says she will receive a vaccine if more information is released showing no long-term impacts on fertility.
What’s more, there are very few accounts pushing out the message of the importance of getting vaccinated to young people.
‘There isn’t anything that is consumable and/or targeted at our demographic,’ 22-year-old Gabrielle Kalisz, who has been vaccinated, told STAT News.
‘All the messaging online…isn’t targeted toward our age group, it doesn’t explain why, if you’re a healthy 19-year-old, you should get this vaccine.’
The lack of information is what prompted Jordan Tralins, a 19-year-old who attends Cornell University, to start the Covid Campus Coalition.
The account on Instagram features colorful infographics that answer frequently asked questions about vaccines and debunk myths.
‘I hadn’t seen any type of campaign targeted toward people my age…and that’s how the idea came to be,’ she told STAT News.
‘I definitely don’t think the information was in my face. It was not in my Instagram feed anywhere. Anything that was on Facebook or TikTok that I saw was false information.’