Overcoming the barriers to vaccination for the young people of Canterbury

Online opportunities for young people to ask questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, conveniently-timed drop-in and drive-through clinics, and collaborations with youth groups are some of the ways a team led by a Pegasus Health GP are working to raise vaccination rates among Canterbury youth.

Pegasus Health is hosting and supporting the primary care part of the Canterbury-wide vaccination programme. Its aim is to better educate young people about the COVID-19 vaccine and make it easier for them to get vaccinated.

Long-time Pegasus Health GP, Dr Kim Burgess, is the clinical lead for the primary care vaccination programme. She says those aged under 30 have only been offered the opportunity to get vaccinated since the beginning of September. In that time an ‘impressive’ roughly 60 per cent of that group in Canterbury have either been vaccinated or booked in to do so.

To further support those efforts, the Canterbury vaccination programme team researched the barriers for young people and set about addressing them.

The main barriers identified are:

  • time and the opportunity to get vaccinated;
  • transport;
  • the cost of time off work, and travel to get vaccinated;
  • difficulty navigating the health system to find and book a vaccination;
  • a sense that COVID was not a big threat to young people;
  • a lack of urgency to get vaccinated;
  • hesitancy or anxiety about the vaccine, its side-effects or needles;
  • and worry caused by anti-vaccination messages.

Kim says the vaccination programme team has offered factual information through webinars in partnership with youth groups such as the Christchurch Youth Council and Canterbury Youth Workers Collective. They
are also arranging more drop-in and drive-through clinics – making it more convenient for young people to get a vaccination. They will also text enrolled patients under the age of 35. Clinics will be set up at Canterbury
tertiary educators, some schools, community centres and rugby clubs. Tailored clinics are also being made available for groups such as the deaf community, Māori and Pasifika youth, and those with the need for a low-sensory environment.


Read the full October newsletter.