National survey reports parental views on COVID-19 vaccination in children

1. In a large national survey, more than half of U.S. parents reported hesitancy in vaccinating their children against COVID-19.

2. Pediatric physicians were found to be the most trusted source of information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Evidence level: 2 (good)

Study Rundown: Vaccines provide an effective prevention against illness caused by COVID-19 in both children and adults. However, parental hesitation can have a major impact on the vaccination rate amongst children. This national survey-based American study aimed to quantify the level of parental hesitancy and to explore parental concerns for their children getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Out of over 1700 parents who were surveyed, only 46% were very likely or likely to have their child vaccinated whereas 33% were very unlikely. More than 50% of parents were concerned about serious side effects or lasting health problems for their children because of the vaccine. 72% of parents completely or mostly trusted their child’s physician as a source of trusted information regarding the vaccine. Several factors were associated with increased parental willingness to vaccinate their child including older age of the child, parental higher education attainment, and parental vaccinated status. The study’s large and nationally representative sample of parents makes the findings generalizable to the United States population as a whole. Data were last collected in March 2021, and perspectives may have changed since that time. Overall, this study indicates a high level of vaccine hesitancy amongst US parents, yet also highlights the strong impact that pediatricians can make in addressing parental concerns.

Click here to read the original article published in Pediatrics

Relevant reading: Parents’ Intentions to Vaccinate Their Children Against COVID-19

In-Depth [cross-sectional]: This is a national survey study from the United States analyzing data received from 1745 parents between February 17 to March 30, 2021; data were available for 3759 children. The data is acquired from the Understanding America Study. The primary variable of interest was parent-stated likelihood of having their child vaccinated against COVID-19. 4 multi-variate models were used to determine the probability of a child getting vaccinated; covariates included parental and child demographics, parental political affiliations, child’s influenza vaccination, and parent’s likelihood of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves. Parents who were more willing to have their child vaccinated had a bachelor’s degree or more and had older children. If a child had received the influenza vaccine in the past 2 years, they were 44% more likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the future (aRR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.24-1.67). A child was 3.4 times more likely to get vaccinated if their parents themselves were vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated (aRR: 3.42; 95% CI: 2.32 – 5.04) against COVID-19.  Other positive predictors for vaccination included social media influence, the governmental approval process for the vaccine, and trust in the child’s doctor.

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