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Only 18% Of Parents Plan To Vaccinate Kids Under 5 When COVID-19 Vaccines Are Approved

A recent survey shows that parents eager to vaccinate their youngest children are in the minority.

Very few parents of kids under age 5 plan to sign their child up for a COVID-19 vaccine when they be...
Songsak rohprasit/Moment/Getty Images

Moderna has — finally — asked for FDA approval for its Covid-19 vaccine for kids under 5. Parents of these children have had the longest wait of all for a vaccine to give their little ones, but it turns out that after all this time waiting, most of them aren’t in any rush to get shots in their kids’ arms once a vaccine is approved.

According to the latest Vaccine Monitor survey, published Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, fewer than 1 in 5 parents (18%) say they are “eager to get their child vaccinated right away.” Almost twice as many (38%) say they “plan to wait a while to see how the vaccine is working for others.” Other small children, presumably, since kids ages 5-11 have been getting shots since November — and kids 12 and up have been getting shots since May 2021 — and the main drawback of the vaccine in kids is that the immunity it offers wears off more quickly that we’d hoped.

About another fifth of parents are even more reluctant, with 27% saying they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated and 11% saying they “will only do so if they are required.”

More than half of surveyed parents with littles this age say they “do not have enough information about the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness for children under age 5.”

That data doesn’t bode well for the idea of a vaccine mandate or heard immunity in children. In addition, recent data show that during the pandemic a lot of kids fell behind schedule with all of their other vaccines as well.

The survey also covered other COVID-related questions, like masking and safety in schools.

Masking is on the wane in schools, with fewer than two in ten parents of kids of all ages reporting that there is a mask mandate in place at their child’s school, as compared to seven in ten back in September. Interestingly, Black and Hispanic parents were almost three times as likely as White parents to say that their child “usually” wears a mask while at school.

A majority (84%) of parents reported feeling that their child is at least “somewhat safe” from Covid-19 at school. There was a significant difference in the way Black and white parents answered this question, however, with 52% of white parents expressing feeling safe, in comparison to only 32% of Black parents.

While it’s exciting to finally have a vaccine for kids under 5 on the horizon, our country has a lot of work to do in convincing parents that our health and education systems are worthy of their trust.