US children under 5 are getting closer to authorized Covid-19 vaccines, but most parents may be reluctant to actually get them when they become available, a new survey found.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Vaccine Monitor survey, published Wednesday, only 18% of parents of children under 5 said they would vaccinate their child against Covid-19 as soon as a vaccine was available.
Nearly 40% of parents of young children said they would “wait and see” before vaccinating their child, 11% said they would get the vaccine only if required, and 27% said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their child against Covid-19.
More than half of parents in this age group said they “don’t have enough information about the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines for children in this age group,” compared with 34% of parents of children ages 5-11 and 25% of parents of children ages 12-17. About 13% of parents of young children said the US Food and Drug Administration’s delay in authorizing a vaccine in this age group made them less confident about its safety, and 22% said it made them more confident.
There were similar findings among parents of older children. For the 5 to 11 age group, 39% of parents said their children were vaccinated, and 32% said their children would definitely not be vaccinated. Among parents of children 12 to 17, 56% said their kids had been vaccinated, and 31% said they definitely will not have their children vaccinated.
A majority of parents who took part in the survey also said they felt that their child was at least somewhat safe from Covid-19 while at school, but the answers varied by race.
More than 80% of parents surveyed said their child was very or somewhat safe in school. However, only a third of Black or Hispanic parents said they felt that their child was very safe, compared with 52% of White parents.
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The survey found a “large shift” in school mask requirements, with the percentage of parents who said that their child was required to wear a mask at school falling from 69% in September to 16% in April.
“Parents who are Black or Hispanic are more than twice as likely as White parents to say their child usually wears a mask (70% vs. 26%) and five times as likely to say that most other students at their child’s school wear masks (9% vs. 47%),” the report authors wrote.