Parents are hesitant to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19, according to poll

A mom takes her daughter to the pediatrician to get vaccinated. (Getty Images)

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility has opened up to Americans over the age of 16 in lots of components of the nation, however scientific trials are ongoing to decide how protected and efficient these vaccines are for youthful children.

Pfizer simply applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for youths between the ages of 12 and 15. Moderna is testing its vaccine on children between the ages of 6 months and 12 years, and Johnson & Johnson is testing its vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds (although it was introduced Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration beneficial pausing using Johnson & Johnson’s single-use COVID-19 vaccine to examine stories of uncommon however probably harmful blood clots).

Data collected to date appears promising — Pfizer shared that its vaccine is 100% efficient at stopping COVID-19 in 12- to 15-year-olds — however a brand new Yahoo and YouGov poll finds that many mother and father are nonetheless hesitant to have their children vaccinated against the virus.

According to the survey of 1,606 U.S. adults, which was carried out from March 22 to 25, simply 39 p.c of fogeys say they are going to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19 as quickly as they’re eligible. Nearly the identical quantity — 37 p.c — say they received’t have their children vaccinated against the virus, and 24 p.c say they’re not sure.

There have been clear divides throughout age, race, political affiliation and schooling degree.

Only 27 p.c of youthful mother and father — that’s, those that are 18 to 29 — stated they are going to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, whereas 54 p.c of fogeys between the ages of 45 and 54 plan to vaccinate their children.

Nearly 47 p.c of Hispanic households plan to vaccinate their children, adopted by 39 p.c of white mother and father and 31 p.c of Black mother and father.

The hole is the widest between political affiliations: 61 p.c of Democrats plan to vaccinate their children, whereas simply 36 p.c of Republicans say the identical. Independents have been the least seemingly to say they’ll vaccinate their children against COVID-19 — simply 25 p.c plan to join when their children are eligible.

Money was additionally a giant determinant — willingness to vaccinate children elevated with a household’s annual earnings. Just 29 p.c of households who make $50,000 or much less plan to vaccinate their children against COVID-19, in contrast to 63 p.c of households who make $100,000 or extra.

There is a whole lot of vaccine hesitancy, however specialists say they hope — and count on — that may change. “This reflects what we saw when we began to vaccinate adults,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious illness specialist and professor on the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tells Yahoo Life. “We have a lot of skepticism and hesitancy.”

But, Schaffner says, “Once vaccination programs begin, people see their neighbors’ children being vaccinated, people get their questions answered and are reassured that the vaccines are safe, many of those skeptical parents will change their minds.”

Dr. Lawrence C. Kleinman, chief of the division of inhabitants well being, high quality and implementation science at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, agrees. “I would expect those numbers to change toward more people getting the vaccine once there are data and federal authorizations,” he tells Yahoo Life. “We saw that with the adult vaccines. People deal with hypotheticals differently than when situations actually present themselves.”

Kleinman says that COVID-19’s threat to children has been “falsely downplayed,” which can have led to extra mother and father not worrying as a lot about how the virus can have an effect on their children. 

“I just came off of clinical service, and we have had children in the ICU due to COVID-19,” Dr. John Schreiber, pediatric infectious illness specialist at Connecticut Children’s, tells Yahoo Life. “This virus is very strange and unpredictable.” While nearly all of children are OK after having COVID-19, “a small number are getting very sick,” Schreiber says. “I don’t want children to get this,” he says. “We’ve been lured into this idea that young people don’t get sick, but some do.” He’s additionally seen children with long-haul COVID-19 who wrestle with fatigue, a lack of style and scent, and customarily feeling unwell. “The virus is unpredictable and may have long-lasting effects on young people,” he says.

Doctors acknowledge, although, that many mother and father are simply making an attempt to make what they assume is the correct choice for their children. “I’m a parent, and parents always want to do what’s best for their kids,” Schreiber says.

Kleinman agrees. “I can appreciate that folks are reluctant to give their children any kind of medication or substance that has not been proven over the long term,” he says. “While I’m waiting to see the data, authorization will require that apparent benefits are much more than the apparent risks and, if that were to happen, I will not hesitate to immunize my 4-year-old daughter.”

Divides in attitudes towards the vaccine based mostly on race, political affiliation and earnings are “exactly what we’re seeing in vaccine hesitancy in adults,” Schaffner says.

Black communities have a “historical reason to be suspicious of medical advances,” Kleinman says, pointing to examples just like the Tuskegee study, during which Black males with syphilis have been intentionally not handled for their illness, regardless of being informed they have been, and monitored to see what would occur. “The community has been historically abused by the medical community.”

“The memory is still there,” Schreiber says. But, he factors out, COVID-19 is “disproportionately impacting minority communities,” making it “very important” that they be vaccinated against COVID-19. Data revealed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention final month confirmed that Black, American Indian or Alaska Native and Latinx folks are up to 3.1 occasions extra seemingly to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and up to 2.4 occasions extra seemingly to die of the virus.

The political divide could merely be due to messaging from each events, Dr. Schaffner says. Republican politicians have been extra seemingly to refuse to wear masks to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 and have been much less seemingly to see the virus as a threat — and Democrats have typically finished the other.

As for why older mother and father are extra seemingly to vaccinate their children, Schaffner says it might be a matter of expertise. “As you get older, you get smarter,” he jokes. Perceived threat is necessary too, Schaffner says: “The younger you are, the less risk you feel the virus poses.”

Schaffner urges folks to respect each other’s selections across the vaccine, however he says it’s necessary to have conversations about vaccine security. “Many children have died and have had to be admitted to the hospital,” he says. “There’s also the problem of long COVID — even if you get mild disease, you can have lingering symptoms that last for months.” Vaccinating children may even make faculties and day cares safer, he says.

There’s additionally this to take into account, per Kleinman: “Scientific panels to authorize the vaccine are more cautious when it comes to children.”

Schreiber urges medical doctors to have candid, nonjudgmental conversations with households concerning the vaccines. “I talk to families about this every day,” he says. “When you tune out Facebook and social media, and have an honest conversation about the risks and benefits, nine times out of 10, families will move ahead and choose vaccination.”

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