Understanding Attitudes and Beliefs toward the COVID-19 Vaccines Among Youth with Mental Illness

Understanding Attitudes and Beliefs toward the COVID-19 Vaccines Among Youth with Mental Illness

People living with mental illness (MI) have increased risk of contracting, and dying from, COVID-19 compared to the general population. Possible explanations include behavioural and structural factors (e.g., living in congregate settings). While COVID-19 vaccine uptake rates for people with mental illness is lacking, influenza vaccination uptake is generally lower than the general Canadian population. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, yet studies show that 11% to 18% of Canadians are hesitant. Black Canadians, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, and youth tend to have higher vaccine hesitancy and are more likely to experience social and structural barriers to accessing vaccinations. Youth between the ages of 16 and 29 are particularly vaccine-hesitant, with some of the lowest vaccination rates in Canada to date. Therefore, youth with MI may require more tailored interventions to increase uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

Additional info

This co-designed project aims to promote vaccine uptake among youth with MI by 1) identifying recommendations for developing targeted, evidence- based public health campaigns, with a focus on trust and COVID vaccines; 2) co-creating and piloting a vaccine campaign with youth with MI; and 3) develop clinical tools tailored for this population.

Project team

  • Dr Daniel Buchman (Nominated PI)
  • Dr Sanjeev Sockalingam (Co-PI),
  • Alexxa Abi-Jaoude
  • Dr Branka Agic
  • Dr Joanne Henderson
  • Andrew Johnston
  • Dr Nicole Kozloff
  • Dr Andrea Levinson
  • Shreya Mahajan
  • Dr Alison Thompson

Funders and partners

  • National Youth Action Council
  • Council for Health Sciences COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Springboard Funding (University of Toronto)
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)