“The COVID-19 YPAR Project”

Despite overall progress in COVID-19 vaccination in Cleveland, vaccine inequity persists as young people are less likely to be vaccinated. However, while often labeled “vaccine hesitant,” this labeling misrepresents deeper issues related to youth experiences and community engagement in Cleveland today.

The youth participatory action research (YPAR) project (conducted October 2021 to April 2022) worked in partnership with young people in the Cleveland area to understand young people’s attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and how these are embedded in a wider social context. 

Researchers at the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health will explain how many of the youth were vaccinated, but for those from redlined neighborhoods, COVID-19 vaccination often took a back seat to more pressing priorities over food security, livelihood and education during the pandemic. 

Further, the center’s work explored how young people’s relationships with authorities (city government, teachers, police) was often one of wariness and mistrust, which also affected how they viewed the vaccine, among wider public health efforts during the pandemic. The researchers believe the findings have implications for engaging young people for improved health and well-being in the city.

Learn more about the findings during the Swetland Center’s October seminar, titled “The COVID-19 YPAR Project. This session will be held Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 9 to 10 a.m. in the BioEnterprise Building, Suite 400. Learn more about the event.