As U.S. health officials prepare to authorize Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in younger children, a new poll shows that less than a third of parents would get their child vaccinated as soon as the shots are approved for kids.
Only 29% of parents of children under age 18 said they would get their child vaccinated “right away,” according to data published Thursday by Kaiser Family Foundation.
Another 32% said they would wait to see how the vaccine is working before getting their child a shot, while the remaining parents said their child would be vaccinated only if their school requires it (15%) or they definitely wouldn’t be vaccinated (19%).
Public health experts have said that vaccinating children is key to ending the pandemic.
Pfizer’s vaccine is already authorized in the United States for people ages 16 and up, while two others — from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are authorized for those 18 and older.
The survey percentages did not stray far from what was seen among American adults late last year in another Kaiser survey. In that survey, 34% of adults said they would get a vaccine as soon as possible, and 39% said they would wait and see.
Those attitudes have shifted over time. The latest data, from April, shows about 64% of American adults say they’ve either already gotten a vaccine or would get one as soon as possible, while a further 15% say they will wait and see.
“We’re in a new stage of talking about vaccine demand,” Mollyann Brodie, executive vice president of Kaiser’s Public Opinion and Survey Research Program, told The New York Times. “There’s not going to be a single strategy to increase demand across everyone who is left. There will have to be a lot of individually targeted efforts. The people still on the fence have logistical barriers, information needs, and lots don’t yet know they are eligible. Each strategy might move a small number of people to get vaccinated, but all together, that could matter a lot.”
In Thursday’s Kaiser survey, parents’ intentions for their children typically mirrored their intentions for themselves. Among parents who have already received at least one dose or want it as soon as possible, three-fourths said they would get their children vaccinated right away (48%) or wait and see (29%).
The latest survey by the non-profit health research group was conducted April 15-29 among 2,097 adults.
Pfizer and Moderna are already testing their vaccines in children as young as 6 months old and expect to ask the FDA for emergency use authorization covering infants and children later this year. Pfizer expects to submit for emergency use authorization for children ages 2 to 11 in September, CNN reported.
As of Friday, nearly 45% of the U.S. population had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 33% were fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those 18 and older, about 57% have had at least one dose and nearly 41% are fully vaccinated.