Objective: Examine factors impacting U.S. parents' intention to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.
Methods: Data were collected February-May 2021 from parents living in six geographically diverse locations. The COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Survey assessed perceived susceptibility and severity to adverse outcomes from the pandemic. Semi-structured interviews assessed perceptions about benefits and risks of vaccinating children.
Results: Fifty parents of 106 children (newborn-17 years) were included; half were Spanish-speaking and half English-speaking. 62% were hesitant about vaccinating their children against COVID-19. Efficacy and safety were the main themes that emerged: some parents perceived them as benefits while others perceived them as risks to vaccination. Parent hesitancy often relied on social media, and was influenced by narrative accounts of vaccination experiences. Many cited the lower risk of negative outcomes from COVID-19 among children, when compared with adults. Some also cited inaccurate and constantly changing information about COVID-19 vaccines.
Conclusion: Main drivers of parent hesitancy regarding child COVID-19 vaccination include perceived safety and efficacy of the vaccines and lower severity of illness in children.
Practice implications: Many vaccine-hesitant parents may be open to vaccination in the future and welcome additional discussion and data.
Keywords: Infectious disease; Minority health; Pediatrics; Qualitative methods; Vaccine.
Copyright © 2022 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.