WASHINGTON (7News) — Teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have greater vaccine hesitancy than their peers without ADHD.
The data coming out of a new study from Children’s National Hospital has implications beyond COVID-19, the lead researcher told 7News.
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When it comes to the coronavirus vaccine, there are multiple steps to get through in order to be fully vaccinated. Keeping track of it all can be daunting for adults, let alone teens with ADHD.
Toward the end of the 2021 school year, researchers looked at nearly 200 adolescents in 11th and 12th grade. Researchers wanted to see if there was a difference between high schoolers with ADHD and those without when it comes to whether they were going to get the COVID shot.
It may seem like a narrow study but Dr. Melissa Dvorsky, the director of Children’s National ADHD and Learning Differences Program, told 7News Health Reporter Victoria Sanchez that she and her co-authors were able to extrapolate some conclusions beyond what it means for the pandemic.
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Willinness and confidence in the COVID Shot was “especially low among adolescents with ADHD” and researchers believe that could be due to the multiple steps of getting vaccinated, not necessarily the shot itself.
“In terms of the why, the core symptoms of ADHD and their associated difficulties with having troubles with planning, motivation, and the execution of vaccines. So, the strategies really need to be direct, providing lots of nudges through either text messages or automated reminders or prompts from their school, the doctor’s office,” said Dr. Dvorsky.
Sine those with ADHD often face planning and motivation challenges, Dr. Dvorsky suggests parents, healthcare workers and school should work together. That can mean setting up vaccine appointments and screenings for other preventative care and check in with the teen to see what other barriers can be taken down.