Hesitancy about COVID-19 vaccine for children highest among Black parents
Nearly half of Black parents (48 percent) were hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine for their child, compared to 33 percent of Latinx parents and 26 percent of white parents, according to survey results from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Parents of children with public health insurance also reported more COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (41 percent), compared to parents of children with private insurance (26 percent).
Survey findings, published in the journal BMC Public Health, point to the need for more targeted efforts to reach the most hesitant populations, which are also the most severely affected by the pandemic.
To inform efforts to increase acceptance of COVID-19 vaccine for children, researchers also asked parents about their sources of COVID-19 information.
"We found that parents who turn to family, internet and healthcare providers for COVID-19 information were less likely to report vaccine hesitancy for their child," said co-first author Jennifer D. Kusma, MD, MS, a pediatrician at Lurie Children's and Instructor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "In the past few months, Lurie Children's physicians have frequently appeared in the media reassuring parents about the safety, effectiveness and importance of vaccinating their children. The insights from our study about trusted sources of information, however, along with our demographic findings, will help with more targeted outreach that hopefully will get more children vaccinated against COVID-19 and bring us closer to herd immunity."
Dr. Kusma and colleagues surveyed parents of children younger than 18 years of age living in the Chicago metropolitan area and the surrounding suburbs that make up Cook County, Illinois. They analyzed responses from 1,425 participants. Overall, 33 percent of parents reported COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy for their child.
"As vaccines are becoming available to younger children, and with continued spikes in COVID-19 cases, it is of the utmost importance that we are able to widely distribute the vaccine," said Dr. Kusma. "We especially need to reach the more vulnerable and hesitant populations to help reduce the substantial health inequities we have seen during this pandemic."