Adolescent/Young Adult (AYA) Hematology/Oncology Patient and Parent Attitudes toward AYA COVID-19 Vaccination
Background: Adolescent/young adult (AYA) patients with hematologic and oncologic conditions are at increased risk for complications of COVID-19 and thus are important targets for vaccine outreach. AYA patients are transitioning from relying upon parental vaccine decision-making to independently making their own decisions. AYA with sickle cell disease (SCD) are of particular concern because a high proportion are African American and experience structural racism in addition to their illness. Further, AYA patients with chronic conditions may consider their past and present illness in their decision-making process.
Methods: As part of a larger IRB-approved study, we recruited vaccine decision-makers for AYA patients aged 9-21 years attending SCD and oncology survivor clinics, including AYA patients 18-21 years old and parents of AYA patients 9-21 years old. After informed consent, participants completed a short demographic survey and a semi-structured interview regarding their vaccine decision-making process. Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine were incorporated given the ongoing pandemic.
Results: Forty-nine parents and 21 AYA patients were recruited. The primary barriers reported regarding vaccination were concerns about its short-term side effects (57% AYAs; 37% parents) and potential to have unknown, long-term effects (10% AYAs; 14% parents). There were also concerns voiced about how rapidly the vaccine was developed (14% AYAs; 27% parents) and misconceptions about the vaccine (19% AYAs; 10% parents). Parents and AYA patients described the benefits of vaccination as lowering personal risk (62% AYAs; 35% parents) and several also mentioned the community benefits of preventing the spread of COVID-19 (19% AYAs; 8% parents) and a possible return to “normal” (14% AYAs; 10% parents).
Potential Impact: The data from this study will further the understanding of how parents and young adults with chronic hematologic and oncologic conditions make decisions about COVID-19 vaccination, a vital tool for protecting medically and socially vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copyright (c) 2021 Sara L. Hardman, Mahvish Q. Rahim, Meagan E. Miller, Scott L. Coven, Seethal A. Jacob, Gregory D. Zimet, Carolyn G. Meagher, Mary A. Ott
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.