Why do parents, especially mothers, continue to have misgivings about the COVID-19 vaccine for their children, even as youngsters made up 15 percent of all new infections as of early August? Their chief concern is vaccine safety, according to a U.S. survey by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers that sheds new light on specific parental worries.
The study found that doubts about whether the vaccine has been tested enough was the most pressing concern, as cited by 51 percent of parents who won’t allow their children to be vaccinated. It was followed closely by the potential for long-term health effects (50 percent) and the newness of the vaccines (46 percent).
The June to July survey of 5,000 parents listed 10 possible hesitancies and asked respondents to rate each as either a major concern, a minor concern, or no concern. Religious objections to vaccines and the government using them to harm people were of no concern to most people.
A prior Northeastern study found that parents held a more favorable view of COVID-19 immunizations for their children than they had earlier in the year. However, researchers had not honed in on particular hesitancies until now. Decisions by parents on whether their kids are vaccinated “becomes increasingly important as kids are going back to school,” says David Lazer, university distinguished professor of political science and computer sciences at Northeastern, and one of the researchers who conducted the study.