November 25, 2020
Though a long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, it still remains to be seen if people will actually be willing to get it.
Recent polling data shows that there is still some concern over the safety and effectiveness of such a vaccine, and a new study suggests that younger parents are less likely to vaccinate their children and themselves against COVID-19 than older parents.
Researchers from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that only 52% of parents ages 18-35 were willing to vaccinate their children. This age bracket is comprised mostly of millennials and some older Gen Z'ers.
Meanwhile, 67% of parents between the ages of 36 and 45, and 69% of parents older than 45 say that they would get their children and themselves vaccinated.
Overall, 63% of parents say they will get their children vaccinated, and 60% plan on also getting vaccinated themselves.
"While a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will likely play an important role in returning families' lives back to normal, it can only achieve that goal if parents trust its safety for themselves and their children," said senior study author Dr. Stephen Patrick, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy in a statement.
"Understanding and addressing parental COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is essential as we prepare to enter this critical phase of the pandemic."
The data also shows that a parent's education level can play a role in how they view the vaccine. Parents with a high school education or less are less likely than parents with a college degree to vaccinate their children and themselves.
Notably, a state's COVID-19 cases or death rates did not appear to influence the parents' answers to the survey, the researchers said.
"Parents' willingness to vaccinate themselves and their children against COVID-19 will be vital to preventing community-wide spread of coronavirus, once a vaccine becomes available," said lead author Dr. Matthew Davis, chair of the department of pediatrics at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
"If COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in children, vaccinating youth may be integral to reducing the transmission risk of coronavirus in schools and daycares next year on a nationwide basis."
In an effort to improve public confidence on a possible vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration announced last week that the public will now have access to all data related to the COVID-19 emergency use authorization process. Check out this helpful primer on how to read the information the scientists supply.
The study's findings, based on a survey sent to 1,108 U.S. households between July 5 and July 10, were published online in a research letter on medRxiv.