Half of US Parents of Teens Got Their Child Vaccinated, but Uptake Slows

Nearly half of 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, but the initial rush to get teens immunized has stalled.

HealthDay News — Nearly half of 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, but the initial rush to get teens immunized has stalled, a new survey of parents shows. Only 1 percent of parents now plan to get their teen vaccinated as soon as possible; 13 percent said they will wait and see how vaccination works for others; and 30 percent said they will not get their teen vaccinated.

The nationwide telephone and online survey of nearly 1,200 parents with a child younger than 18 years was conducted Nov. 8 to 23, and the results appear in a new Kaiser Family Foundation report.

Sixteen percent of parents said their child had been vaccinated, and 13 percent said they planned to get the shot for the child right away. About one-third (32 percent) said they would see how the shots work for other children first and almost as many (29 percent) said their child would not be vaccinated.

The survey revealed that most parents do not feel they have enough information about the effectiveness (58 percent), side effects (63 percent), or safety (61 percent) of COVID-19 vaccines in children. In all, 52 percent of parents with teens and about 40 percent of those with 5- to 11-year-olds were confident that vaccines are safe for their children. About 57 percent of parents of teens and 55 percent of those with younger children said they believe a COVID-19 infection poses a greater risk than vaccination, while 39 and 41 percent, respectively, considered vaccination a bigger risk.

Hispanic parents were more likely (62 percent) to say their teen had been vaccinated than Black parents (48 percent) or White respondents (42 percent), but there were no significant racial or ethnic differences in their intentions to get younger children vaccinated. Hispanic parents and Black parents were more likely than White parents to express concerns about vaccine access. For example, among those with unvaccinated children, more Hispanic parents (47 percent) than Black parents (43 percent) or White parents (23 percent) expressed concern about missing work to take their children to get the shot or care for them if they have side effects.

Fewer than half of respondents said they had talked to their child’s pediatrician about the COVID-19 vaccines. Sixteen percent of parents with teens and 15 percent of those with younger children said they had talked to their pediatrician, and he or she had not recommended vaccination. Forty-nine percent of parents said their child’s school had provided information about how to get a vaccine, and 44 percent said their school had encouraged them to do so.

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