A majority of parents with children between the ages of six months and five years old are not planning on getting their young child vaccinated against COVID-19, a rebuke of the FDA and CDC’s controversial decision to authorize the shots earlier this year.
According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) a combined 56 percent of parents report not wanting to get their child jabbed – with 43 percent saying they definitely would not and 13 percent noting they would only do so if required.
The most common reason cited for the hesitation are worries about side-effects and lack of research and testing that went into the development and rollout of the jabs.
American’s overall concern with the pandemic seems to be falling and the feared BA.5 summer surge may already have failed to materialize. Daily infections caused by the virus are down 10 percent over the past week to 127,251 per day, with deaths having dropped 17 percent to 440 daily during that period.
A majority of parents do not plan to get their child between the ages of six months and five years old the COVID-19 vaccine unless it is mandated, a KFF survey finds
Around one-in-five parents are concerned that the jab for children has not been tested enough to be used yet. Some health experts raised similar concerns upon the approval of the shots last month
U.S. parents are more likely to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine poses more risk to their children than the virus itself does, the survey finds
The KFF Vaccine Monitor included 1,585 American parents. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in question were approved by health officials in late-June.
The decision to make the shots available by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was slammed by some experts as not following science and instead just making the shots available for the sake of clarity.
Many parents of young children seem to agree. A vast majority of U.S. adults are vaccinated themselves – with the CDC reporting around 90 percent have received at least one shot of the vaccine – but they may not be as eager to get their children the shots.
The survey finds that only seven percent of parents have gotten their child the shot, with ten percent saying they planned to get them the shot right away.
The most popular response was parents who said they would ‘definitely not’ get their child the jab, at 43 percent. Another 13 percent said they would only get their child vaccinated if some sort of requirement was set.
More than one-in-four parents responded that they would ‘wait and see’ before getting their child vaccinated.
Vaccine hesitancy rates actually increased when the shots were approved by regulators. In April, the last time KFF posed the question, only a combined 38 percent of parents said they either would not get their children the shot or would only do so if they were required to.
Parents who do not want their child jabbed are overwhelmingly Republican – with 64 percent saying they would definitely not get them the shot compared to only 21 percent of Democrats – and unvaccinated themselves, also at 64 percent.
They seem most concerned about the lack of testing and research that went into the shots, with nearly one-in-five citing it as a reason they would not vaccinated their young child.
Many health experts cited similar concerns when the jabs were first approved in June.
Dr Vinay Prasad, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco had strong criticism for the data being used to promote the vaccine and its efficacy in young children.
In a YouTube video, he pointed to a claim that the Moderna vaccine is 38 percent effective against the virus. He says that when data was adjusted by the firm to account for at-home testing – in which some cases do not get recorded properly – the effectiveness drops all the way to 27 percent.
He also said that there is little data available backing the claim that Pfizer’s vaccine is 80 percent effective at preventing infection.
‘We need to be honest about these,’ he said.
Dr Marty Makary, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University wrote on Twitter, in response to the CDC’s approval of the shots:
‘A more honest announcement would have been: ‘We approved the vax for babies &toddlers based on very little data. While we believe its safe in this population, the study sample size was too low to make a [conclusion] about safety. Note that studies were done in kids w/o natural immunity”
The KFF poll also found that 53 percent of parents believe that the shot itself poses a more of a risk to their children than the virus does.
While the shot has been deemed safe and effective by officials worldwide, children do face little risk from the virus.
The CDC revealed earlier this year that three-in-four U.S. minors have likely been infected with COVID-19 at some point over the past two years, the highest rate of any age group.
Despite that, they make up 0.1 percent of deaths recorded in America. They are also significantly less likely to experience significant symptoms from Covid.
The data also comes as it seems like BA.5 outbreak many predicted to overwhelm the nation this summer seems like it may not come to fruition.
The BA.5 variant is feared to be the most transmissible version of the virus to take hold in the U.S. yet by health officials.
It is also immune-evasive and can get around protections a person may have from previous Covid infection. Experts believe that a person could be re-infected with BA.5 within weeks of recovering from a different version of the Omicron variant.
This is a potentially worrying prospect that changes the understanding many have of the pandemic.
BA.5 has quickly grown in its prevalence across America and now makes up four of every five cases in the U.S.
While is has caused cases to rise in recent weeks, experts are not panicking yet.
‘The good news here is our tools, our vaccines if you are up to date, if you’ve been vaccinated recently… if you get treatments, those continue to work really well,’ Dr Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator told ABC’s This Week last weekend.
‘This is an area of concern but we know how to manage this.’
He noted that people over the age of 50 – who suffer the most risk from the virus – should receive their fourth vaccine dose if they have not already.
The shots, which are the second booster after the original two-dose regimen of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, were made available earlier this year in an effort to shore up protection for the most vulnerable to the virus.