While a majority of parents either have or plan to vaccinate their children against Covid-19, a new Ipsos poll finds more than a third of parents of both younger and older kids are still opposed to letting them get the shot—but there are factors that could persuade them.
Most parents plan to vaccinate their child against Covid-19 or already have, but more than a third ... [+] remain opposed.getty
The poll, conducted September 22-28 among 1,014 respondents, found 43% of parents of kids under 12 are “very likely” to vaccinate their children once Covid-19 vaccines are approved for that age range, while 24% are somewhat likely, 11% are not very likely, 15% are not at all likely and 8% don’t know.
Among parents of 12- to 18-year-olds—who are already eligible for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine—54% said their child had been vaccinated.
Parents of both groups cited concerns about potential side effects, that the vaccines were developed too quickly and long-term effects as the main reasons behind not vaccinating their kids, while less than 5% said it was an access issue of not being able to get time off work so their children could get the shot.
When asked what would persuade them to vaccinate their children, 25% of parents of unvaccinated 12- to 18-year-olds said a vaccine mandate from their child’s school, followed by full approval of the vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration (23%), if a member of the household was in a high-risk group (23%), if a family member or someone at the child’s school tested positive for Covid-19 (11%), or news reports about children with Covid-19 getting “seriously ill” (11%).
At least some parents of younger children could also be swayed by those reasons: 14% of all parents of under-12s said full FDA approval was the most important reason for why they would get their child vaccinated, while 6% said their children’s school requiring it would be the biggest factor.
Healthcare workers could also play a large role in persuading hesitant parents, as 40% of all parents and 43% of under-12 parents said their child’s healthcare provider was the biggest source that would influence their decision on whether or not to vaccinate their kid.
While some parents may be swayed by FDA approval or school mandates to get their kids inoculated, Ipsos’ polling showed many may not be persuaded. Forty percent of parents of unvaccinated 12- to 18-year-olds said no factor would change their mind, and 10% of all parents and under-12 parents said there were no reasons for why they would get their child inoculated.
A strong majority of 60% of all parents polled said they strongly or somewhat support schools requiring Covid-19 vaccines for in-person learning, while 39% are opposed.
What To Watch For
Covid-19 vaccines for five- to 11-year-olds could become available in the coming weeks. A FDA advisory panel will meet October 26 to determine whether to recommend them, and the Biden administration has told governors to expect the vaccines to roll out sometime in early November assuming they’re approved. President Joe Biden said Thursday there will be enough vaccine supply for all kids to get inoculated, and the White House has said it’s working to ensure the vaccines can be administered at places like pediatricians’ offices and schools.
Covid-19 vaccines for kids have become an increasing matter of concern as the delta variant has left children ineligible for vaccination particularly vulnerable, resulting in numerous school outbreaks and an increase in child Covid-19 hospitalizations. Though evidence suggests children are at a lower risk for Covid-19 than adults, there is a small chance of severe illness, and some could suffer from persistent “long Covid” symptoms. Ipsos’ polling is similar to other recent polls showing a substantial minority of parents are opposed to their children’s vaccination, though the 36% of under-12 parents who aren’t likely to vaccinate their kids is slightly lower than some other recent surveys showing more than 40% opposition. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July and August found more than 50% of parents were either opposed to the vaccine or planned to “wait and see,” suggesting some might already be changing their minds. The poll is also in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showing vaccinations for 12- to 17-year-olds lag behind those of adults. Only 45.5% of 12- to 15-year-olds and 53.2% of 16- and 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated, versus 68% of adults.