A qualitative assessment of the needs and attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination among young adult residents of southwest Georgia Open Access

Vincent, Simonne (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/bk128c16f?locale=en


Background: Vaccination for the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been widely available in the United States. However, many young adults are refusing to get vaccinated, especially in rural areas like southwest Georgia. COVID-19 vaccination is imperative to lower the spread of the disease and end the pandemic. Limited research has yet to qualitatively examine the needs and attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination among young adults.

Research Objective: This study examines the needs and attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination among young adults in southwest Georgia aged 18-35 years.

Method: In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 southwest Georgia residents between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Interviews were conducted over the phone and were then transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were coded by the primary coder with a secondary coder reviewing those codes to establish a standard of reliability for qualitative analysis. Themes were identified and matrices were used to identify patterns among participants, and by race and education level.

Results: The majority of participants were vaccinated and had very positive views towards the COVID-19 vaccines but reported being concerned about the vaccines’ long-term effects. Participants were encouraged to get vaccinated by close relatives or friends who were also vaccinated or viewed it favorably. Convenient and accessible vaccination sites made vaccination uptake easier for most participants. Participants also shared those who were most vaccine hesitant were young adults compared to older adults who are more trusting towards the vaccine. Participants generally shared that information about the vaccines should be provided by local organizations or community leaders. Personalized vaccine messaging was viewed more favorably by participants compared to more scientific or statistics-based messaging.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the successful promotion of COVID-19 vaccination is heavily dependent on the views and behaviors of close friends of families and the level of trust in sources of information. Targeting vaccination information to young adults’ social circles through social media and local community organizations/leaders can increase COVID-19 vaccine trust, limit misinformation, and improve the vaccination rate among young adult rural residents. 

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Literature Review 4

Morbidity and Mortality due to COVID-19

Vaccination Rates for COVID-19 6

General Vaccination Hesitancy among Young Adults 8

Theoretical Framework 9

Methods 14

Population and Sample 14

Study Design 15

Table 1 16

Data Collection Methods 17

Data Analysis Methodology 18

Results 21

Description of Study Participants 21

Table 2 21

Attitudes toward COVID-19 Vaccination 22

Perceived Norms 26

Environmental Facilitators & Constraints 33

Information Needs 35

Messaging Strategies 40

Discussion 43

Limitations 47

Implications and Conclusion 47

References 50

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