According to a CNN analysis, less than half of children and teens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and only a tenth have been boosted. This despite the fact that everyone 6 months and older is now eligible to receive Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, and those 5 and older are eligible for a booster.
Data posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week showed that about 23.9 million 5- to 17-year-olds — or 45% of that age group — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and yet only about 5 million of them have gotten a booster shot. But most parents of vaccinated children 5 to 11 and 12 to 17 say their child has gotten or is likely to get a booster dose, according to the new Kaiser Family Foundation survey. About 29% of parents of vaccinated children ages 12 to 17 say their teen has received a booster dose, and nearly half say they “definitely” or “probably” will.
Still, there are many parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their young children citing concerns about the newness of the vaccine and not enough testing or research, concerns over side effects, and worries over the overall safety of the vaccines, according to the KFF survey. More than four in 10 parents of children 6 months to 4 years old say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated for COVID-19.
And for the older age groups, nearly three in 10 parents of 12 to 17 year-olds and nearly four in 10 parents of 5 to 11 year-olds say they will not get their child vaccinated.
Additionally, Republican-leaning parents (64%) and parents who are themselves unvaccinated (64%) are particularly likely to say they will “definitely not” vaccinate their youngest children, while parents of color express concerns that reflect access barriers to getting their young children vaccinated.
The CDC highly recommends vaccinating children, with director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., saying in a June 2022 statement, “I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.”
President Biden also insisted that the vaccines are “safe and effective, and are approved after extensive scientific review by the Food and Drug Administration — the FDA — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC.”
The best way to end the fight against COVID-19 and lessen symptoms is to get vaccinated. With summer coming to a close and the 2022-23 school year fast approaching, vaccines and boosters will help protect our children. It will also help protect our vulnerable population at large — and keep kids in school with fewer disruptions caused by outbreaks and absences.