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Parents' Age Key to Whether Kids Get Vaccinated Against COVID, Study Finds

MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- As scientists worked on COVID-19 vaccines, other researchers were addressing a question: Once shots are available, will parents vaccinate their kids against the new coronavirus?

The answer: Younger parents are much less likely than older ones to plan to vaccinate their children and themselves against COVID-19.

"Parents' willingness to vaccinate themselves and their children against COVID-19 will be vital to preventing community-wide spread of coronavirus, once a vaccine becomes available," said study lead author Dr. Matthew Davis. He is chair of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

"If COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in children, vaccinating youth may be integral to reducing the transmission risk of coronavirus in schools and daycares next year on a nationwide basis," Davis said.

The study found that 52% of parents aged 18 to 35 were likely to have their kids vaccinated against COVID-19, compared with 67% of parents aged 36 to 45. Most likely to vaccinate: parents aged 46 and older, at 69%.

Overall, 63% of parents plan to vaccinate their kids and 60% said they, too, will get the shots.

The findings were reported in a research letter published online recently in medRxiv, an internet site that distributes unpublished manuscripts about clinical research, medicine and health.

The survey, conducted July 5 to 10 in both English and Spanish, included 1,108 households across the United States. Parents were asked to rate how likely they were to vaccinate their kids.

Parents with a college education were more likely to plan to vaccinate than those with a high school education or less. White parents were less likely to vaccinate than Hispanic parents, the survey showed.

The researchers found no association between a state's COVID-19 cases or death rates and parents' views on vaccination.

Senior study author Dr. Stephen Patrick is director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy in Nashville, Tenn. He said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the lives of children and families across the U.S. While a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will likely play an important role in returning families' lives back to normal, it can only achieve that goal if parents trust its safety for themselves and their children."

Understanding and addressing parental COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is essential, Patrick added in a university news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers COVID-19 vaccine information.

SOURCE: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, news release, Nov. 17, 2020

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