Parents split on COVID-19 vaccine for young kids, poll finds

51% of parents with kids ages 3-11 said it was 'unlikely' they would get them a COVID-19 vaccine

Over half of parents surveyed in a national poll said it was unlikely their child would receive a COVID-19 vaccine should the shots see expanded authorization in younger age groups.

Findings released Monday from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health drew from a nationally representative sample of 2,019 parents of kids aged 3 to 18.

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"Among parents of children 3-11 years, 49% say it is likely their child will get a COVID vaccine once it is approved for their age group, while 51% say it is unlikely," the report reads. Meanwhile, 40% of parents of children aged 12-18 said it’s unlikely their child will get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Children as young as 12 are eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and trials are underway in younger age groups. Pfizer has said it expects to file for emergency authorization in kids 5-11 by September.

The poll also found that many parents hadn’t consulted their child’s primary care doctor over COVID-19 vaccination; 70% of parents of kids aged 3-11 and 50% of parents of kids aged 12-18.

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"The lack of discussion with pediatricians and other child health providers likely leaves parents at a disadvantage in making an informed decision about COVID vaccination for their child," authors wrote.

Several key factors weighing into vaccination include "side effects of the vaccine (70%), testing in the child’s age group (63%), how well the vaccine works in children (62%), and parents’ own research (56%)," the report continues.

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Study authors emphasized that parents’ discussions with a primary physician could help sort through information to reach an informed choice, like differentiating between normal and adverse side effects or the process of regulatory authorization.

"As this Mott Poll indicates, parents are already forming opinions, and it is essential that their decision-making process include accurate information, as well as a professional recommendation from their child’s healthcare provider. Parents of younger children who have appointments for check-ups or minor illnesses may want to include questions about COVID vaccine in their list of topics for discussion during the visit," the report reads.

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