Commissioner surveys young people about COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions
South Australia’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, has released a summary report of key findings from a survey of young people aged 12-18 years about their views on COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions. As COVID-19 vaccines have now become available to all South Australians aged 12 and over, Commissioner Connolly felt it was an appropriate time to hear from young people so that their ideas and lived experiences could be factored into decision-making.
What do our young people know about vaccines?
In addition to asking for their views on vaccines and restrictions, the survey also asked young people where they get their information from, and what they need from adults to feel better supported during the pandemic. Of the 506 young people who responded, 1 in 3 (33%) knew ‘a little’ or ‘not much at all’ about COVID-19 vaccines. Approximately one fifth (17%) had already had one or both doses of a vaccine, and two thirds (67%) said they were ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to get vaccinated within the next 12 months.
Some of the reasons young people gave for not being vaccinated included thinking it was unnecessary because of their low risk of getting COVID-19. Others were ‘scared of needles’ while some said they believed the risks of being vaccinated outweighed the risks of contracting the virus itself. They also raised concerns about the idea of introducing a vaccine passport, saying this might unfairly effect children and young people whose parents are not allowing them to get vaccinated.
Young people overwhelmingly understood the importance of getting vaccinated and of putting restrictions in place to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, but they also felt young people overall were being impacted by restrictions more than other age-groups. Young people reported feeling a range of emotions in response to the pandemic, from feeling lucky to be living in a state that has been relatively safe compared to other parts of Australia and the world, through to confusion, frustration, and sadness about the lack of information or appreciation for the unique and often disproportionate ways young people’s day-to-day lives are being impacted.
How can young people feel better supported by adults?
To feel better supported by adults, young people recommended that they listen to what young people are saying about their unique experiences, reassure them more often, inform them with examples that are relevant, and include them in decision-making. They also said adults needed to be more flexible and to not place so much pressure on young people, to stop spreading misinformation, follow the restrictions, and provide better mental health support at school. They also wanted the government to continue to provide financial support for families who have lost work and are struggling because of the impact of the pandemic.
What Young South Australians told the Commissioner:
“I guess it’s just really hard because I feel like we are losing what it means to be young, to go out and have fun. I feel like as a Generation we all really care about the community as we have a more humanistic rather than individual outlook – and we want to do all we can to support the Gov. and stop COVID. I know SO many people my age who have already gotten vaccinated or are booked. There’s not much I feel like the Gov. can do to support us, and how sad a lot of us feel about our youth right now.”
– 17 year old, Female, Onkaparinga
“The non-vaccines are selfish. Yeah, they have the right to be scared and not want to and have a voice, but it’s ultimately our future and when borders open, they are going to just ruin the situation. The vaccine is only like 70% effective and we can still get it, and if they are carrying it around us, then we will still get it despite doing the right thing.”
– 13 year old, Female, Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
“I feel the response from adults in terms of the pandemic could be described as unorganised and confusing. Though I understand that no-one has experienced something like this before, it has been confusing for me as a teenager to understand constantly changing guidelines and restrictions.”
– 15 year old, Female, Central Southern LGA
I think in South Australia the government is handling keeping covid out well. However, I don’t think it’s worth destroying business and livelihoods….I’m not saying the lives lost don’t matter. Of course they do, but this is going to end up being something we will all have to live with.”
– 17 year old, Female, Tea Tree Gully
Download a copy of the Survey:
COVID-19 Survey: Key Findings
For further information on the work of the Commissioner:
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WIN 1 of 4 places on the Nimble Float at this year’s Christmas Pageant
We have some exciting news direct from Stardust Castle today, with the team from National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant on the hunt for four lucky young faces (aged 6-9) to feature on the iconic Nimble float at the 2022 festivities!
All that is required is a 25-word submission of what the magical festivities means to your child.
How to enter
The team behind the pageant are looking for two boys and two girls aged 6-9 to fill four positions on the Nimble Float!
To enter answer in 25 words or less what the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant means to your child.
Four (4) winners will be allocated a position on the Nimble float and will be participant in National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant on Saturday 13 November 2021
- Relevance to Theme (20%): How closely does the response relate to the question.
- Authenticity (20%): How authentic is the response.
- Quality of Entry (20%): How well has the response been written.
- Availability (20%): Entrants must be available for participant rehearsals, briefing sessions and on Pageant Day.
- Costume size (10%): Subject to availability of costume size.
19th October 2021 – Competition opens at 12.00pm ACST
24th October 2021 – Competition closes at 10.00pm ACST
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This is my body: A book for kids about consent
Body boundaries. Consent. Autonomy. They’re complex concepts that are of the utmost importance to teach our children. In this day and age it’s more important than ever to help our children find their voice and empower them to speak up about their own body boundaries and consent, but sometimes it can be a tricky set of concepts to convey in a way that our small people will understand.
Mum and author Lilli Carle has written a beautiful book to help parents start meaningful conversations with their kids surrounding these important topics.
We chat with Lil about what inspired her to write the book and the messages she hopes it will instil in its young readers.
Tell us about your decision to write this book.
I’m a mental health and general nurse, I run a children’s entertainment company, and I’m mum of two, soon to be three, in a blended family. During lockdown last year, I found kids parties canceled, and with our kids away at their other parents every second weekend I found myself with some free time.
You mention you have a blended family, did this play a role in the subject matter of the book?
In blended families there is special kind of anxiety around co parenting, when you realise that on top of kids being away from us at school and childcare etc. they also have a whole other life with people we sometimes don’t know. Being a mum of girls made me fearful already. Our co parenting arrangements made it worse. Feeling powerless to be able to control all these things I decided the best way to keep our kids safe in our absence was to educate and empower them. So I used the free time created by lockdown life to write my girls a book.
What message do you hope to convey in This is MY Body?
“This is MY Body” was written to equip our kids with the language to set their own boundaries, an understanding of the concept of consent, and the confidence to maintain autonomy over their own bodies.
Since it’s release last year it have discovered just how many other families find this a difficult topic to approach with their young families. I’m hopeful the book will continue to ask as a starting point for some tricky conversations like it was for us.
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The Village Co. introduces Mama Milk Kits, a new way to support Mums in need
The Village Co. have this week announced a new initiative to support struggling mums, one that will address the not insignificant task of supporting mums-in-need with breast feeding.
The Mama Milk Kit was created with The Village Co. mums in mind. Mums who want to breastfeed but face significant barriers, including homelessness, financial hardship, significant mental health issues, minimal family/friend support or domestic violence.
There is a huge amount of pressure on mothers to breastfeed but for any new mum it presents a huge learning curve. We know that breast milk is the ideal option for the health of the newborn, as well as having many positive outcomes for the health and mental/emotional wellbeing of the mother, but it’s not always as easy as it seems.
With a Mama Milk Kit, new mums facing hardship will receive basic tools, simple instructions and access to expert videos, all to help them successfully nourish their newborn babies.
How can you help
You can help The Village Co. by buying a Mama Milk Kit for yourself or a friend, or by making a donation so more can be supplied to new mums in need.
By buying a Mama Milk Kit you’ll also be supporting new mums who need a bit of extra help.
Your beautifully packaged Mama Milk Kit comes with:
- Silicone Manual breast pump
- Silicone Breast pump cap
- 10 milk storage bags
- Breastfeeding info magnet
- The knowledge that you’ve helped a new mum
While you enjoy your Mama Milk Kit, your purchase helps The Village Co. fund Mama Milk Kits for other mums in hospital who want to breastfeed but can’t afford this helpful tool.
The Mama Milk Kits will be added into EVERY Welcoming Babe bags for new mums in hospital.
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