Few parents intend to vaccinate very young children against Covid

Barely a month after the Food and Drug Administration approved Covid-19 vaccines for very young children, the prognosis that large numbers of them will actually get the vaccine looks bleak, according to a new survey of parents released on Sept Published Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. which has monitored vaccination attitudes throughout the pandemic.

A majority of parents surveyed said they felt the vaccine posed a greater risk to their children than the coronavirus itself.

For children in the 6 months to 4 years age group, parental concern has so far resulted in the administration of hardly a trickle of Covid vaccinations. Since June 18, when they became eligible, only 2.8 percent of those children had received immunizations, the foundation found in a recent separate analysis of federal immunization data. In comparison, 18.5 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 who were eligible for Covid vaccinations since October had been vaccinated at a similar time when their vaccinations were introduced.

The new poll found that 43 percent of parents with children under the age of 5 said they would “definitely not” have them vaccinated. About 27 percent said they would “wait and see,” while another 13 percent said they would have their children vaccinated “only if needed.” Even some parents, who were themselves vaccinated against Covid, said they would not give permission to their youngest children.

The new analysis of parents’ views comes as vaccine uptake has slowed significantly for older children. So far, only 40 percent of children aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated. In the new survey, 37 percent of parents stated that they would “definitely not” get a Covid vaccination for their child in this age group.

The parents’ main concerns were possible side effects of the vaccine, its relative newness and the lack of adequate research. Many parents said they were willing to let their children risk contracting Covid rather than getting a vaccine to prevent it.

Experts on child immunizations said they viewed parents’ hesitation with concern as the number of Covid cases is rising sharply again and is expected to worsen in the cold weather months and the possibility of new and potentially more dangerous coronavirus variants persisting.

Although a large majority of children who get Covid get over it easily, “some kids get very, very sick and some die,” said Patricia A. Stinchfield, the president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. She was not involved in the Kaiser study.

How a child with Covid will fare is unpredictable, added Ms Stinchfield, a nurse who coordinated vaccine delivery for Children’s Minnesota, a children’s hospital system in St. Paul and Minneapolis. “We don’t have a marker for that,” she said. “Half of the children who get severe Covid are healthy children with no underlying conditions. The idea of ​​saying, ‘I’m going to skip this vaccine for my child, we’re not worried about Covid’ is really a risk.”

This latest report is based on an online and telephone survey conducted June 7-17 of 1,847 adults, 471 of whom had a child under the age of 5. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for the entire sample and plus or minus 8 percentage points for parents with a child under 5 years of age.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the split between parties has been particularly sharp over child vaccination, with Republican parents three times more likely than Democratic parents to say they will “definitely not” have their child vaccinated.

A majority of parents said they found information from the federal government about the vaccine confusing for their children. Nevertheless, 70 percent stated that they had not yet discussed the injections with a pediatrician. Just 27 percent of parents considering the vaccine said they would make an appointment for this conversation.

Parents who may be predisposed to having their children receive Covid vaccinations said lack of access was a significant barrier, a concern voiced by more Black and Hispanic parents than white parents. About 44 percent of black parents worried about having to take time off work to get their children vaccinated or to care for them if the children have side effects. Among Hispanic parents of young children, 45 percent said they were concerned about finding a trustworthy location for the recordings, and about a third feared paying a fee.

Ms Stinchfield said she understood her concerns: her own daughter had to give up her job to get vaccinations for Ms Stinchfield’s grandchildren aged 1 and 3. Mrs. Stinchfield went with them to a clinic. “The message to the clinics is: make the vaccine available for children in the evenings and on weekends,” she said.

Did your grandchildren have any side effects? No, Ms. Stinchfield said with a chuckle. “They felt so good that we put them in a little kiddy pool,” she said. “And now my granddaughter has a tan line from the plaster from the syringe on her leg.”

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