According to data from the King Faisal Foundation, only 17% of parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years say their child has been vaccinated or will be vaccinated as soon as possible. Another 27% said they would wait and see how effective the injections were in other children, and 13% said they would not vaccinate their children unless asked to do so at school or child care.
Although the proportion of parents unwilling to vaccinate children in this age group is high, it is not much lower in other age groups. According to the survey, 37% of parents of children aged 5-11 and 28% of parents of children aged 12-17 said they would not be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Parents’ responses varied greatly when divided by partisan status and immunization. Only 21% of Democratic parents said they would not vaccinate their young children, compared to 64% of Republican parents. The survey found that 27% of vaccinated parents said they would not vaccinate their children, compared to 64% of unvaccinated parents.
Concerns about side effects
“Concerns about the safety of vaccines and their potential side effects are widespread among parents of unvaccinated children aged 6 months to 4 years,” the report’s authors wrote.
More than 8 in 10 parents of young children who are not immunized said they are concerned about serious side effects and unknown long-term effects. The majority of parents of unvaccinated children had these concerns.
While concerns about long-term effects and side effects were common across demographic lines, white parents reported fewer logistical concerns about vaccinating their young children. More than 4 in 10 black parents expressed concern about taking time off work for vaccinations, and 45% of Hispanic parents said they were concerned about having their children vaccinated from a trusted provider.
Attention to vaccination education
Survey data also show scope for improved vaccine education and a potential opportunity for unvaccinated children to be vaccinated. More than half of parents of young children said they felt government information about their children’s vaccination was confusing. Nearly 40% of parents of unvaccinated children said they did not have enough information about where to find the vaccine.
“Across income groups, the majority of parents with a household income of at least $90,000 say they believe information from federal health agencies about vaccinations for children under five is clear, while a majority of those on low incomes say it is confusing,” the authors said. .
One-time vaccination clinics are best known for vaccinating adults, but many parents of unvaccinated children consider vaccination alongside regular medical appointments.
“Most parents of children under five who are newly eligible for the vaccine say they have not spoken to pediatricians or other health care providers about the vaccine for their child,” the authors wrote, and most of these parents say they will have that discussion at the child’s next visit.
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that infants and young children see a doctor at 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 3 years, and 4 years.