Parents Are More Hesitant to Vaccinate Their Younger Children Against COVID: Report

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Parents are more hesitant about getting COVID-19 shots for younger kids when they're approved, which could be any day now, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But experts say the pause some parents have may change once the rollout begins.

For many kids at the Queens Pumpkin Patch in Saratoga, this is the first time they've been able to hunt for a gourd – as the pandemic put a damper on Halloween fun in 2020. And this year, for many families, child vaccines are top of mind.

"We are waiting eagerly, actually, to get vaccinated her,” said Swadhi Vytoori of Sunnyvale. 

San Jose resident Dian Kwon said her child is due for other vaccinations like measles and mumps next month, “So I think that it's easy to just lump COVID into the same thing."

Her child is still too young for the next round of vaccine approvals, but both parents’ attitudes are typical for about a third of those surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

They asked parents if they will vaccinate their children once the COVID-19 vaccine is approved.

A total of 27% said they will right away -- down from 34% just last month. 

About a third said they'd wait and see and 5% said only if they have to. And a little less than a third said definitely not.

"We haven't really seen any statistically significant movement over time. It's really been broken almost into thirds,” said Liz Hamel of the foundation. “That area ready to get it, wait and see mode, and then saying they just don't plan to get it.”

Hamel said that parents who are hesitant have raised a number of concerns like long term effects or being able to take time off if their child has side effects.

But, the biggest barrier is the fact that it's just not available yet for young children.

She said parents’ attitudes did change with older kids. 

"The share of parents who are ready to get their teens vaccinated, has increased as they've learned more, as they've seen other teens get vaccinated,” said Hamel. “So, we would expect the same thing to happen with younger kids as well."

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