Mott national poll on children’s health finds parents are hesitant to give their child the COVID-19 vaccine

Michigan Medicine’s C.S Mott Children’s Hospital released a poll report on parents’ views and decisions on whether to get their child the COVID-19 vaccine. This national poll reported that parents of children ages 3-11, who are not currently eligible for the vaccines, are roughly split 50-50 on whether they want to get their kids vaccinated when it becomes eligible.

 

 

In June 2021, the C.S Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health reached out nationally to households with parents of children between the ages of 3-18. The report is based on 2,019 parents with at least one child. 

Of parents with children 12-18, who are currently eligible for the vaccines, 39% said their child has already received the vaccination. Of the same group, 21% said their child will likely get the vaccine and 40% said it is unlikely. 

In the group ages 3-11, those who are not eligible for the vaccines, 49% of parents said their child will likely get vaccinated and 51% said it was unlikely. Sarah Clark, M.P.H., Mott Poll co-director, said:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted parents to think about their child’s health and safety in new ways, from mask wearing to attending in-person events. As COVID vaccine authorizations expand to younger age groups, parents are also considering whether and when their child should get vaccinated. As children prepare to return to school, our poll provides insight into parents’ current stance on vaccinating kids and what factors into their decision making.”

The report said 75% of parents consider their child’s health care provider’s recommendation to be an important factor in their decision across both age groups. However, among kids 3-11, 70% of parents have not discussed the vaccine with the child’s doctor, and of the 12-18 group, 50% have not discussed the vaccine with the doctor. Clark said:

“Typically, parents look to their child’s regular health care provider for information and guidance on vaccines for their child. But our report suggests that half of parents of children 12-18 years, for whom the COVID vaccine is already recommended and available, have not discussed it with their child’s provider. These discussions also aren’t taking place among families of younger children, who are expected to be eligible for the COVID vaccine in the coming months.”

Clark said information around the vaccine, whether on the internet or word of mouth, that does not come from a professional, can be difficult to understand and might have a political motive, which might lead parents to have exaggerated perceptions of the effects of the vaccine. Some parents might confuse a regular immune response after a vaccine for dangerous side effects. 

“Discussing the COVID vaccine with pediatricians and other child health providers will help parents sort through all the data and make an informed choice that is right for their child and their family.”

Other reasons parents said would influence their decision include vaccine side effects (70%), testing in the child’s age group (63%), how well the vaccine works in children (62%), and parent’s individual research (56%), according to the report. 

Parents in this report also showed a higher comfortability with receiving the vaccine at the child’s doctor’s office. Among parents whose children are not vaccinated, 42% preferred to get the vaccine at a doctor’s office. 

“Many parents are used to their children getting vaccines at the doctor’s office. Our poll suggests that availability of COVID vaccines in pediatric clinics may help parents feel more comfortable with getting their child vaccinated.”

Clark implores parents to talk with their child’s doctor about the vaccine. 

“Our poll suggests parents are already forming opinions, and it’s essential that their decision-making process include accurate information, as well as a professional recommendation from the child’s health care provider.”