Most parents still have concerns about safety of Covid-19 vaccines for children, survey finds

A 6 year-old child receives their first dose of  the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at the Beaumont Health offices in Southfield, Michigan, on November 5, 2021.

(CNN)Most parents still have concerns about the safety of Covid-19 vaccines for children, and about three in 10 say that they will "definitely not" vaccinate their children against Covid-19, according a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Vaccine uptake has slowed among adolescents ages 12 to 17 in recent months. Only about half of parents say that their child in this age group has received at least one dose of vaccine, a share that has changed little since the fall, KFF found.
And among parents of younger children ages 5 to 11, about 29% say that their child has already been vaccinated or will be "right away." But another third of parents of children in this age group say that they want to "wait and see" before vaccinating their child against Covid-19.
    The latest KFF survey was conducted for two weeks in mid-November among a nationally representative sample of parents with children under the age of 18 in their household. The survey was conducted before the Omicron variant was detected and did not capture how this news may have affected views.
      While most parents say that becoming infected with Covid-19 poses a bigger risk to their children than getting vaccinated, it's clear that questions remain. Only about half of parents say that they are confident that Covid-19 vaccines are safe for adolescents and only about 44% of parents say the same for younger children, compared to about two-thirds (64%) who say the vaccine is safe for adults.
      About six in 10 parents say that they don't have enough information about the effectiveness, side effects or safety of the Covid-19 vaccines in children. In fact, more than one in six parents who have not yet vaccinated their children say that the need for more information, testing and research is the top reason they haven't yet vaccinated their children against Covid-19, according to the KFF survey.
      Dr. Sean O'Leary, vice chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious disease, said that it's common for parents to take a cautious approach when it comes to their children.
        "Generally what we've seen throughout the years is that parents tend to be more careful with their kids than themselves," O'Leary told CNN. "It's one of those things that predates the pandemic. When you ask parents about their concerns, safety is almost always at the top, and they frequently say they don't have enough information."
        The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shared information about the safety of Covid-19 vaccines for children, including data that shows that serious side effects are rare. But parents' trust in the CDC has dropped from 66% in July to 57% in November, according to KFF.
        As expected, pediatricians are the most trusted source of information about vaccinations, with more than three-quarters of parents saying they trust their child's pediatrician or health care provider "a great deal" or "fair amount." Yet, fewer than half of parents said that they have talked to their child's pediatrician about the Covid-19 vaccines, according to the survey.