By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Newly released polling data shows that the majority of parents are not interested in vaccinating their young children.
The Kaiser Family Foundation released the survey Tuesday, which showed that 83% of parents with children under 5 years old who are eligible for the vaccine are not planning to get their child vaccinated right now.
Currently, only 7% reported their children under 5 are vaccinated.
“With the FDA granting emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 4 years old, many parents of these young children remain reluctant to vaccinate their child,” Kaiser said. “More than 4 in 10 parents of children in this age group say they will ‘definitely not’ get their child vaccinated for COVID-19.”
On top of that, another 27% say they will “wait and see.” An additional 13% said they will only do it if required.
The survey found parents are concerned about a lack of research and testing of the vaccine given its newness as well as concerns about safety and side effects from taking it. Research has shown significant side effects from COVID-19 vaccines and that children are at a much lower risk from the virus than older adults.
“More than half of parents of children between 6 months and 4 years old say the COVID-19 vaccine poses a bigger risk to their child’s health than a coronavirus infection,” Kaiser said.
The vaccine hesitancy is different based on political party, with more Republicans rejecting the vaccine.
Republican or Republican-leaning parents (64%) and parents who are themselves unvaccinated (64%) are particularly likely to say they will “definitely not” vaccinate their youngest children, Kaiser said.
Parents are more willing to vaccinate older children, the report found.
“Four in 10 parents of kids ages 5-11 now report their child has gotten vaccinated (40%). Just 1% of parents now say they will get their child vaccinated right away, while about 1 in 10 parents of 5-11 year-olds still want to ‘wait and see,’” Kaiser said. “Notably, nearly half of parents of children ages 5-11 say they either will only get them vaccinated if required to do so (10%) or say they definitely won’t get their 5-11 year-old vaccinated (37%).”
For teens, the number is higher.
“Parents’ intentions to vaccinate their older children have remained relatively steady since the start of the year with about 6 in 10 parents of teenagers, ages 12-17, saying their child has been vaccinated (57%),” Kaiser said. “Vaccine uptake among children ages 5-11 also appears to have slowed with 4 in 10 parents saying their child in that age group has gotten the vaccine – similar to the share in April. Nearly 3 in 10 parents of 12 to 17 year-olds and nearly 4 in 10 parents of 5 to 11 year-olds say they definitely will not get their child vaccinated for COVID-19.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.