How soon before I can get my kid vaccinated against COVID-19? That’s an urgent question for an increasing number of parents with 5- to 11-year- olds, according to a new poll showing a growing share of parents saying they’ll have their child vaccinated as soon as possible.
One-third (34%) of parents with children in that age group said they would have their child vaccinated “right away,” Kaiser Family Foundation researchers said Thursday. That’s an eight percentage point increase, up from 26% when pollsters asked the same question in July. The Kaiser poll was conducted from Sept. 13 to Sept. 22, coinciding with Pfizer and BioNTech’s Sept. 20 announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine for children was safe and effective. Earlier this week, Pfizer
said it sent its trial data to the Food and Drug Administration. It will follow up in the coming weeks with a formal application for emergency use authorization for a vaccine for children in that age group. When it comes to COVID-19 shots for kids, some parents have said they won’t rush in. To be sure, the new poll shows the wait-and-see contingent remains large — but it’s shrinking as the school year is underway and the delta variant fuels cases. In July, four in 10 parents of 5- to 11-year-olds said they would wait before deciding whether to get shots for their kids. Now, one-third (32%) say they’ll be taking a wait-and-see approach. The share of parents steadfastly against the vaccine for their child stayed essentially even from July to September, going from 25% to 24%. A similar dynamic is playing out for the parents of teens, where the Pfizer-BioNTech shot is authorized for ages 12 to 17. The number of parents in wait-and-see mode has decreased to 15%, down from 23% in July and down from 26% since the researchers started asking the question in April. Two in 10 parents of teens said they would “definitely not” have their teenage child vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, has estimated the FDA’s green light on the vaccine for kids could happen around the end of October. The Kaiser poll comes while the delta variant puts a new focus on kids and COVID-19. In the span from Sept. 16 to Sept. 23, more than 200,000 child COVID-19 cases accounted for nearly 27% of the weekly reported cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. (The medical association notes age ranges for a child vary in differing states.) In that timeframe, statistics from 24 states and New York City shows between 0.1% to 2% of child COVID-19 cases resulted with hospitalization. More than one-half (57%) of parents in the new poll said they worried about their child becoming “seriously sick” from the virus. Many parents are also getting a look at the worries a possible COVID-19 case can cause during a school year where so many kids are coming off months of remote schooling last year. Almost one-quarter (23%) say their child has needed to quarantine since the start of the school year because of a possible COVID-19 exposure — a requirement that might throw off the schedules of parents who need to return to the office. Parents of younger kids are juggling quarantine rules more frequently, with 26% of parents of kids aged 5-11 saying their child had to stay at home due to a possible exposure. Two in 10 parents of teens said their child has needed to quarantine.