WEDNESDAY, April 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Most young people want to protect other people from COVID-19, according to surveys of 14- to 24-year-olds that suggest it may be effective to focus on that message.
“Public health campaigns should take advantage of young people’s desire to protect others and not be the cause of the spread,” said Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Chua is the lead author of a May issue report Journal of Adolescent Health which analyzed data from MyVoice, a national youth survey. It allows open answers to questions sent by SMS to a national youth show. The data came from several text message surveys conducted in 2020.
About 86% of young people said they were moderately or very concerned about the spread of COVID.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they wore masks or other face masks all or most of the time. The most common reason they gave was that they did not spread the coronavirus.
Nearly 20% said they made exceptions when they were close to people they considered close contacts or were part of their “pod”. About 16% based their behavior of wearing masks on social cues that included whether they felt they could trust that the people they were with had been careful in limiting their exposure.
“In general, young people thought they were doing the right things and followed facial coverage guidelines, even when making exceptions. At the time of collecting our data, young people were committed and concerned about their impact on others and, in general, they wanted to do their part, “first author Melissa DeJonckheere, an assistant professor of family medicine, said in a university press release.
The researchers said, however, that young people may not be strongly motivated to get one vaccine to protect themselves. Therefore, a message like “Get a vaccine to protect your grandparents” may be more effective.
Across the country, adolescents and young adults now account for a growing proportion of COVID-19 cases. Those over the age of 16 can now opt for vaccination.
Other recent MyVoice work found similarly high percentages of young people who reported following rules about social distancing but making exceptions for close contacts. In some situations, it seemed that young people misinterpreted public health guidance.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on COVID-19[feminine[feminine.
SOURCE: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, press release, April 23, 2021