Young people want other groups to be vaccinated first

December 17th 2020

As the end-of-year celebrations come closer, more participants in the Big Corona Study want to follow the rules  

Now that the holiday season is upon us, more people are saying that they will respect the strict guidelines. This was found in the latest edition of the Big Corona Study, in which participants also overwhelmingly stated that residents and staff of residential care homes and care providers in general should be vaccinated first.  

The Big Corona Study, an initiative of UAntwerp, in cooperation with UHasselt, KU Leuven, ULB and supported by a financial boost from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), saw its 26th edition on Tuesday. Some 21,500 people took some time to fill in the questionnaire. There could have been more, but the website was unavailable for a while on Tuesday evening. 

Some interesting findings: 

  • At the end of November, 67% of participants in the Big Corona Study said they would respect the rules for the hosting Christmas parties (with close family and with possibly one cuddle buddy). At the beginning of December, this rose to 71%; this week, 79% say they will respect the guidelines.  ‘This willingness is increasing in every age group, including young people’, Prof. Philippe Beutels (UAntwerp) says. ‘The rules are clear now. It might also have something to do with the corona figures, which are rising again.’  

  • Belgians are also making fewer plans to travel abroad during the end-of-year period. A month ago, 80% said they would stay in their own country, two weeks ago 85% and this week 90%. In addition, the number of people who weren’t sure is steadily decreasing, so it seems that they have opted for a staycation after all.  

  • The scientists also asked participants to rank eleven target groups according to who should be vaccinated first; a difficult exercise. The first two groups are not subject to discussion: 85% put care providers in their top three, 75% put residents and staff of residential care homes in the top three. Half of participants put young people between 16 and 25 in eleventh and last place.  

  • Interestingly, young people also tend to put themselves at the back of the vaccination queue. Beutels: ‘In addition to being aware that they are at relatively low risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, I believe that this indicates their sense of responsibility. Our questionnaire shows that the mental well-being of young people suffers greatly as a result of this crisis, yet they consider it more important that other groups be vaccinated first. They also believe that their teachers should get vaccinated sooner than themselves.’ 

  • Recently, it has been reiterated that working from home is compulsory unless there is no other option. For more than a month, the proportion of people working from home full-time among the participants of the Big Corona Study has remained stable: about one in three working people does not go to their workplace.