Survey: Parents Hesitant to Vaccinate Young Kids Against COVID-19

More than 40% of parents of children under five years old will "definitely not" get them vaccinated against COVID-19, a new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Vaccine Monitor survey finds.

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children from 6 months through 4 years old. But their parents remain hesitant - only 7% say they've already gotten their children a jab.

The KFF survey found that 10% of parents want to get their newly eligible children vaccinated as soon as possible, 27% want to "wait and see" how it works in other children of the same age, and 13% would only get their child vaccinated if required for school or childcare. Nearly half (43%) say they will "definitely not" vaccinate their children.

Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine for children from six months to under five years old has an efficacy of 80.3%. Meanwhile, in the Moderna trial, the effectiveness against symptomatic infection ranged from 37% to 51%.

Both companies say side effects in children under five years old were "mild to moderate."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines in children four years and older may include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness in the arm where the shot was given.
  • Fever.
  • Tiredness.
  • Headache.
  • Chills.
  • Muscle or joint pain.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.

The side effects in children three years and younger can include:

  • Pain where the shot was given.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Irritability or crying.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Loss of appetite.

Leslie Sude, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatrician, says vaccinating young children against COVID-19 is another way to make everyone safer.

"While a significant proportion of the population was not eligible for vaccination, there was still the opportunity for widespread circulation of COVID among children, who could then keep transmitting it to older people," she says. "And as long as the virus spreads from person to person, the virus can keep changing and evolving into new variants."


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