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Though the COVID-19 vaccination rate for children remains low, a new study shows a recommendation and assurances on vaccine safety from a health care provider could increase vaccination coverage among young children.
Just 5.9% of children ages 2 years and younger and 8.8% of children aged 2-4 years have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To better understand the reasons for low vaccine uptake, the CDC analyzed data from 4,496 National Immunization Survey-Child COVID Module interviews conducted from July 1-29, 2022.
Results were published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among children ages 6 months to 4 years, 3.5% were vaccinated; 59.3% were unvaccinated but the parent was open to vaccination; and 37.2% were unvaccinated and the parent was reluctant to vaccinate their child.
Openness to vaccination was highest among parents of non-Hispanic Asian children (83.1%) followed by parents of Hispanic or Latino (66.2%), non-Hispanic Black or African American (61.1%) and non-Hispanic White (52.9%) children. Openness to vaccination was lower among parents of children in rural areas (45.8%) than among parents of children in urban areas (64.1%).
Just 25% of respondents said a health care provider recommended the COVID vaccine for their child, and 57% were confident of the vaccine’s safety, though confidence of vaccine safety varied by race or ethnicity and household income. In addition, a higher percentage of vaccinated children than unvaccinated children had parents who reported receiving a provider recommendation (63% vs. 25%).
The report also showed 78.5% of vaccinated children ages 6 months to 4 years received their COVID-19 vaccine in a medical setting, while 15% went to a pharmacy.
“Trusted persons (e.g., a child’s pediatrician) providing accurate information to parents about vaccine safety, especially to parents of Hispanic or Black children or parents in lower-income households, might encourage these parents to have their child vaccinated,” authors wrote.
Study limitations included low survey response rate (20%) and use of parent reports of vaccine status and intent to vaccinate, which may be subject to recall and social desirability biases.
- CDC information on COVID-19 vaccine boosters
- CDC clinical considerations for administering COVID-19 vaccines
- AAP COVID vaccination resources
- AAP pediatric COVID-19 vaccine dosing quick reference guide
- AAP/Health and Human Services COVID vaccine toolkit
- Information from HealthyChildren.org on preparing children for a COVID-19 vaccine