A majority of parents say they would get the COVID-19 vaccine for their children under 12, according to a new Gallup survey. Parents' willingness to get the vaccine for their children depends on such factors as their level of anxiety about the disease, whether they themselves have been vaccinated, and their political affiliation.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech announced that they would seek emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Approval could come this fall. Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was safe and produced strong antibody responses in children ages 5 to 11 in a large-scale trial, according to The Washington Post.
More than 5.5 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. The highly contagious delta variant has been spreading quickly among unvaccinated adults and increasingly among children. There are vaccines available for children aged 12 and older.
More than half of parents in the Gallup survey say they are very worried (21%) or somewhat worried (32%) that their young child will get COVID-19.
An overwhelming majority of parents (90%) who are "very worried" about their child getting COVID want them to be vaccinated. Also, parents who are themselves vaccinated say they would vaccinate their children (82%).
But 24% of parents say they are "not too worried" and 23% are not worried at all that their offspring will get the coronavirus. Only 7% of parents who say they are "not worried at all" about getting the virus would have their children vaccinated.
Parents' anxiety about their children getting COVID-19 is down eight points from summer of 2020, when it was last measured (and there was no vaccine).
Parents who identify as Democrats are more likely to have their children vaccinated (83%), whereas 50% of Independents and only 21% of Republican parents want their kids vaccinated.
The issue of mask-wearing in schools is very divisive still, with 47% saying all students should be required to wear masks irrespective of vaccine status. But 40% of parents say no students should be required to wear masks, contrary to the guidance from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A similar division exists about whether teachers and staff should be required to wear masks, with 49% of parents saying yes and 38% saying no.
Some parents who are disinclined to vaccinate their children are concerned that there is no long-term vaccine safety data yet available, and others may be swayed by the fact that COVID-19 symptoms in young children are mild, Gallup noted.
The update to Gallup's probability-based COVID-19 web panel survey ended one day before Pfizer and BioNTech announced they would seek FDA emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
The Gallup Panel is a multimode Panel with approximately 100,000 members, all of whom can be reached via phone. About 80,000 members can be reached by email to complete a Web survey. Results for this Gallup poll are based on self-administered web surveys conducted Sept. 13-19, 2021, with a random sample of 4,034 adults. The margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points.
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