Young women most reluctant group to get COVID-19 jab, ANU study finds

A surprising group has emerged as the most reluctant in Australia to get the COVID-19 jab. And this explains their lack of confidence.

Young women are the most reluctant group in Australia to get the COVID-19 jab, a new study has found.

The Australian National University study also suggests that if young women have been turned off by the government’s handling of sexual harassment allegations, they could “well turn off engaging about vaccination”.

Forty-three per cent of young women reported they were willing to get vaccinated as soon as possible, based on the survey of 3030 people.

But this was lower than the more than 60 per cent of the rest of the population who wanted the jab as soon as they could get it, the nationally representative study on Australian attitudes towards vaccines found.

“Young women were less willing than other groups to receive the vaccine,” study lead Dr Diana Cardenas said.

The number of young women keen to get vaccinated as soon as possible was also less than the 62 per cent of Australia’s young men in the same 18 to 24 years age group keen to get the jab as soon as possible.

Older people aged over 65 were most willing to be vaccinated (80 per cent), and most people in Australia (64 per cent) said they would get it as soon as they could.

ANU professor Kate Reynolds said the survey revealed those who had greater confidence in the state and federal governments – regardless of ethnicity, age or gender – were more willing to be vaccinated.

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Feelings of belonging and inclusion also played a role, she said.

“We found key drivers of getting vaccinated for COVID-19 included when people had a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood and a belief that people are being treated fairly,” Professor Reynolds said.

The experts believe the research could help the government to encourage reluctant groups and get those undecided about the jab over the line.

“It shows us trust in the government and social cohesion are important,” Professor Reynolds said.

“For example, if young women have been put off the government because of the handling of sexual harassment and political culture, then they could well turn off engaging about vaccination.”

About 30 per cent of young women aged 18-24 reported confidence in the federal government compared with the rest of the population at 47 per cent.

The study also found there was no difference in a willingness to get the jab between those born in Australia or overseas.

Most states and territories also had similar levels of willingness to get vaccinated.

About a fifth of those surveyed believed there were serious risks with being vaccinated.

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