Half of U.S. parents may not vaccinate their youngest child against COVID-19

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Even as the delta variant of COVID-19 sweeps the globe, leaving those who remain unvaccinated vulnerable, vaccination among adults and teenagers in the United States is stalling.

This gives rise to concerns over whether parents will vaccinate their young children once vaccines are approved for those under 12 years of age.

In a new study from CUNY, researchers conducted a community-based online survey of parents of children under 12 years.

The survey was conducted in a sample of 2,074 U.S. and 1,119 NYC parents in March and April of 2021 as vaccine roll-out among adults was expanding.

Among all U.S. parents surveyed, only 49% reported planning to vaccinate their youngest child when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children, while 26% of parents said they were unsure and 25% said they will not vaccinate their child.

Asian parents were most likely to report planning to vaccinate children in the U.S. survey while parents with less than a college education and income less than $25,000 were most likely to be vaccine hesitant.

In contrast, a higher proportion of parents in NYC (62%) reported planning to vaccinate their youngest child against COVID-19, while 15% were unsure and 23% did not plan to vaccinate.

In both surveys, female parents were less likely to report plans to vaccinate their children.

Parents who did not plan to vaccinate their youngest child selected concerns about safety as their main reason for vaccine hesitancy, and a quarter of parents also said they didn’t think children were at risk for COVID-19 infection and did not need vaccination.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 4 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and over 300 have died.

In addition, children infected with COVID-19, even those with mild symptoms, may experience long COVID, similar to adults, with persistent pain and fatigue.

When available, vaccines will be an important tool for protecting the health of children and controlling the epidemic.

The results of the survey suggest that as many as half of U.S. parents do not want to vaccinate their children for COVID-19.

The team says governments should start now to develop and deliver information campaigns to help parents understand the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, as well as the real dangers to children from COVID-19 infection.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about old vaccines can fight new pandemics like COVID-19 and findings of a link between mild heart problem, COVID vaccine.

For more information about COVID vaccines, please see recent studies about should rare cases of heart inflammation put your COVID-19 vaccine plans on hold? and results showing that COVID vaccines: some fully vaccinated people will still get infected – here’s why.

The study is published in the Journal of Pediatrics (U.S.) and Vaccine (NYC). One author of the study is Assistant Professor Chloe Teasdale.

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