STOP COVID! initiative aims to increase youth vaccination rate

December 09, 2021

Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear and colleagues are developing a new app aimed at increasing vaccine uptake in youth from ages 18-29. 

Lear and his team will test their STOP COVID! app through a series of interviews with youth across a range of factors, including gender, age, ethnicity, education, geographic diversity and COVID-19 infection history. Their goal is to better understand factors related to COVID-19 vaccine uptake, hesitancy, and confidence.

The app is being co-designed with input from the research team’s Young Adult Advisory Group. Rooted in behaviour change theory, the app uses gaming strategies to deliver tailored content encouraging youth to get the shot. 

“This age-group tends to have the lowest uptake of vaccinations, yet has the greatest number of cases,” Lear says. “Despite this, little is known of the reasons for vaccine confidence, which is crucial to informing targeted interventions to improve vaccine confidence and uptake in this population.”

Once pilot tested and finalized, STOP COVID! will be launched through advertisements in restaurants and public transit, and on social media. 

Researchers will measure the impact of STOP COVID! through online surveys, interviews and follow-ups on vaccination status. Data will be further analyzed to identify the context in which STOP COVID! worked, with whom and why.

They anticipate that the STOP COVID! digital approach could serve as a platform for other vaccination and health behaviour interventions.

STOP COVID! is one of 89 new COVID-19 research projects to receive funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research announced today.