On Tuesday, COVID-19 vaccinations began for children under 5 in the U.S. More than a year after the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were granted emergency use authorizations for adults, parents of all children 6 months and older will have the same option for their kids. The CDC approving vaccines for this age bracket expands eligibility for nearly 17 million children.
CivicScience has long tracked consumer sentiment toward the COVID-19 vaccines and recently surveyed parents of young children to gauge their attitudes. Parents are generally more hesitant to vaccinate their children under 5 than parents were of children aged 5 to 11 after emergency authorization for that age group last year. Just around one-in-five parents of children under 5 are ready to get them vaccinated right away, but the majority (56%) are not considering it at all.
According to the survey results, white parents are the least likely to get their children under 5 vaccinated, with nearly two-in-five Asian or Pacific Islander parents of this age group planning to vaccinate their children right away. Black Americans are significantly more likely than white Americans to plan on vaccinating their children under 5 at some point in the future.
The splits across cable news networks are quite lopsided. Eighty-four percent of parents with kids in this age group who primarily watch Fox News will not vaccinate their children, and CNN viewers drastically outpace the Gen Pop in vaccination likelihood. CNN viewers are even twice as likely as MSNBC viewers to get their children under 5 vaccinated.
While parental vaccination status drastically increases the likelihood of a child under 5 also getting vaccinated, it’s far from a clear predictor. One-third of vaccinated parents within the age group have no intention of vaccinating their young children, but vaccinated parents are also nearly twice as likely as the Gen Pop to get their youngest vaccinated. On the flip side, nearly 10% of unvaccinated parents of young children plan to get their kids vaccinated at some point.
Fears about potential side effects and long-term health consequences top the list of concerns for parents of children under 5, with skepticism toward its necessity trailing right behind. Parents with kids in this age group who aren’t concerned about the vaccine outnumber those who question its efficacy.
So while the COVID-19 vaccine will provide immediate relief to roughly one-in-five parents with children under 5, a majority of parents with young children stand to be more hesitant about vaccinating — if they even get the shot at all.