Home » News » New Study Examines Parent Hesitancy Toward COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

New Study Examines Parent Hesitancy Toward COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

Samantha Schilling, MD, MSHP; woman with shoulder-length red hair wearing blue and white top smiles at camera in front of fuzzy building background

New Study Examines Parent Hesitancy Toward COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

May 9, 2022

A study, which was recently published in Parent Education and Counseling, outlines that the 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. Many vaccine-hesitant parents may be open to vaccination in the future and welcome additional discussion and data, the researchers found.

Samantha Schilling, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor (and FPG Faculty Fellow); Colin Orr, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor; and Martha Perry, MD, Associate Professor, in the Department of Pediatrics Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine worked on the study, titled “COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among low-income, racially and ethnically diverse US parents.”

Data for the study were collected from February 2021 through 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 were based on 50 parents of 106 children, newborn-17 years; half were Spanish-speaking and half English-speaking. Among participants, 62% were hesitant about vaccinating their children against COVID-19. Efficacy and safety were the main themes that emerged as 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 parents 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.

This story was originally published in UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine Newsroom and can be found here: