(The Hill) — Most parents of young children do not plan to get them vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Tuesday. More than 40% of parents of children under 5 said they will “definitely not” vaccinate their kids, compared to about % who said they want to get their kids vaccinated as soon as possible, according to Kaiser’s latest survey.
Only 7% said they already have gotten their kids vaccinated. About a quarter of all parents surveyed said they want to “wait and see” how the vaccine works in other young children, while 13% said they would only get their child vaccinated if it were required for school or child care.
The FDA authorized shots for kids ages 5 and younger in June, more than a year and a half after the shots were first authorized for adults. There are about 18 million kids eligible. The hesitation isn’t just coming from people who are unvaccinated. Even among parents who are vaccinated, about one in four said they will “definitely not” get their young child their shots, according to the poll.
The findings emphasize the difficulty health officials face in convincing parents to get their young children vaccinated. Many parents expressed concerns about the newness of the vaccine and not enough testing or research, according to the poll. There were also concerns over side effects, and worries over the overall safety of the vaccines.
Some parents also expressed concerns that reflect access barriers. More than four in 10 Black parents of unvaccinated children ages 6 months through 4 years old said they are concerned they might need to take time off work to get their child vaccinated or care for them if they experience side effects. About 45% of Hispanic parents said they are concerned they won’t be able to get their child vaccinated at a place they trust.
Vaccines are being distributed across thousands of different sites, but the Biden administration is focusing its efforts on front-line providers, including pediatricians and primary care doctors, as that is where they expect many families will want to go. According to the survey, 70% of parents said they had not spoken to their pediatricians or other health care providers about the vaccine for their child. However, higher-income parents, with household incomes of $90,000 or more, were more likely than their lower-income counterparts to say they have talked to a pediatrician or health care provider.
The survey was conducted from June 7-17 among 1,847 U.S. adults, including 471 parents with a child under the age of 5. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 8 percentage points for parents with a child under 5.