Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Parents of Children Under Five Years in the United States

Version 1 : Received: 27 July 2022 / Approved: 2 August 2022 / Online: 2 August 2022 (09:22:32 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Fisher, C.B.; Bragard, E.; Jaber, R.; Gray, A. COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Parents of Children under Five Years in the United States. Vaccines 2022, 10, 1313. Fisher, C.B.; Bragard, E.; Jaber, R.; Gray, A. COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy among Parents of Children under Five Years in the United States. Vaccines 2022, 10, 1313.

Journal reference: Vaccines 2022, 10, 1313
DOI: 10.3390/vaccines10081313

Abstract

On 17 June 2022, the U.S. FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines for emergency use in children ages 6 months – 4 years. Seroprevalence has increased during the current Omicron variant wave for children under 5 years and the burden of hospitalization for this age group is similar or exceeds other pediatric vaccine preventable diseases. Research following the October 2021 approval of vaccines for children 5 – 11 indicates high prevalence of parental vaccine hesitancy and low uptake, underscoring the urgency of understanding attitudes and beliefs driving parental COVID-19 vaccine rejection and acceptance for younger children. One month prior to FDA approval, in the present study 411 U.S. female guardians of children 1 – 4 years from diverse racial/ethnic, economic, and geographic backgrounds participated in a mixed method online survey assessing determinants of COVID-19 pediatric vaccine hesitancy. Only 31.3% of parents intended to vaccinate their child, 22.6% were unsure, and 46.2% intended not to vaccinate. Logistic regression indicated significant barriers to vaccination uptake including: Concerns about immediate and long-term vaccination side effects for young children, the rushed nature of FDA approval and distrust in government and pharmaceutical companies, lack of community and family support for pediatric vaccination, conflicting media messaging, and lower socioeconomic status. Vaccine-resistant and unsure parents were also more likely to believe children were not susceptible to infection and that the vaccine no longer worked against new variants. Findings underscore the need for improved public health messaging and transparency regarding vaccine development and approval, the importance of community outreach, and increased pediatrician attention to parental concerns to better improve COVID vaccine uptake for young children.

Keywords

COVID-19; vaccine hesitancy; young children; parents; health disparities, social determinants

Subject

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Developmental Psychology

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