While parents have a more favorable view of COVID-19 vaccinations for their children than they did earlier in the year, sharp differences between mothers and fathers have hardly budged, with moms remaining more skittish about vaccines, according to a U.S. survey by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers.
Lingering maternal reluctance is noteworthy since moms tend to have more influence over children’s health decisions than dads, and their cautious approach could be caused by societal expectations, says Matthew Simonson, a doctoral candidate in network science at Northeastern and lead author of the study.
“Women may be more likely to be judged by society as to how good a parent they are than fathers, and that just creates even more pressure on mothers to play it safe,” he explains. “There’s a false perception that playing it safe means avoiding vaccinations. But this perception may shift as more children start getting sick with the Delta variant.”