A Quarter Of Parents Won’t Let Their Children Get Covid-19 Vaccine, Poll Finds

By Alison Durkee | Forbes | June 16, 2021

TOPLINE

As vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue, approximately one in four parents say they do not intend to get their child vaccinated against Covid-19, a Harris poll finds—and more than 10% intend to only have their child receive one dose, which may not be enough to protect against the Delta variant now taking hold in the U.S.

KEY FACTS

  • The poll, conducted June 11-13 among 2,015 U.S. adults, found the vast majority of parents will have their children fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including 62% of those with children under age 12, who are not eligible yet for the vaccine, and 54% of those ages 12 and older, with a further 9% saying their children are already vaccinated.
  • The poll found 27% of parents of children under 12 and 25% of parents of older children say they will not get their children vaccinated.
  • Their reasons include wanting to wait for more research on vaccines’ safety and effectiveness in children, not thinking Covid-19 is serious enough in children to warrant vaccination and general anti-vaccine sentiment.
  • A further 11% of parents of children under 12 and 12% of parents of children 12 and up say they will only have their children receive one of the two recommended doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • One vaccine dose has been shown to be far less effective against the Delta variant first identified in India—which could soon become the dominant strain in the U.S.—with Public Health England reporting one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provides only 36% protection against symptomatic disease.
  • A majority of parents said they are very or somewhat strict about having their children social distance in public spaces regardless of whether it’s required, but the fact most statewide mask mandates have now been dropped does not stop them from bringing their children to public places or activities—though most parents would only feel comfortable doing so if their child wore a mask.

BIG NUMBER

26%. That’s the percentage of Americans ages 12-15 who have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with 40% of 16- to 17-year-olds, who became eligible for the shot sooner. Only 12.8% of 12- to 15-year-olds and 29.6% of 16- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated.

CONTRA

While those who haven’t contracted Covid-19 will not get full protection from only one dose of the vaccine and face an increased risk of infection, studies suggest one shot may produce a sufficient immune response to protect those who have already recovered from the disease. That does not explain most of the Harris poll respondents who said they would only have their child get partially vaccinated, however, as only 1% of respondents said their child has already contracted Covid-19 and therefore they believe they only need one dose.

TANGENT

The U.S. and several other countries are investigating a potential but statistically rare link between the Pfizer vaccine and heart inflammation in teens, though myocarditis has also been linked to Covid-19 itself. The CDC continues to recommend everyone ages 12 and up receive the Covid-19 vaccine, given that contracting Covid-19 poses a far greater risk, and notes that of the patients who did suffer heart inflammation, “Most patients who received care responded well to medicine and rest and quickly felt better.”

KEY BACKGROUND

The Harris poll reflects a larger trend of widespread vaccine hesitancy in the U.S., with other polling similarly showing that approximately 25%-30% of Americans are unwilling or hesitant about getting the Covid-19 shot. Vaccine hesitancy rates have been particularly high in a number of GOP-led states—as polling has shown Republicans are disproportionately likely to refuse the shot—and there are still 10 states in which less than 50% of eligible residents have received at least a first vaccine dose, according to the CDC. State and local officials have pushed a wide variety of vaccine incentives to help encourage Americans to get the shot, including incentives targeted toward teenagers like lotteries for college scholarships and special teen-oriented vaccine events.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Clinical trials are now under way to test Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines in children under 12, though it’s still unclear when the shots will receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration and start being administered to the general public.

Read the full story at Forbes.