Story at a glance
- Just 27 percent of parents say they plan to vaccinate their 5 to 11-year-old child right away once a vaccine is authorized for that age group.
- The survey found 76 percent of parents said they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned that there’s not enough known about the long-term effects of the vaccine in children.
- Parents also seemed to be worried the vaccines could affect their children’s fertility in the future, despite no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to fertility issues.
As authorization for use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in younger children appears to be imminent, a new survey suggests a large share of parents don’t plan to get their kids vaccinated right away.
The survey published Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that just less than 3 in 10 parents, 27 percent, say they plan to vaccinate their 5- to 11-year-old child immediately once a vaccine is authorized for that age group.
On Tuesday, a key Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expert advisory panel recommended the agency grant emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in that age group. The agency does not have to follow the panel’s recommendation, although it often does. The move brings about 28 million children closer to being eligible for shots.
A decision by agency regulators is expected in the coming days, and a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel is set to meet next week to recommend how the vaccines should be used.
But while experts have found the vaccine benefits “clearly outweigh the risk,” parents appear to be weary of potential side effects on their kids.
The Kaiser survey found 76 percent of parents said they are either “very” or “somewhat” concerned that there’s not enough known about the long term effects of the vaccine in children, while 71 percent said they’re concerned their child might experience serious side effects.
Parents also seemed to be worried the vaccines could affect their children’s fertility in the future, despite no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is linked to fertility issues.
The poll found 66 percent of parents were very or somewhat concerned the vaccine could negatively impact fertility.
Parents hesitant to vaccinate their children right away include those that are vaccinated themselves.
“I’m not opposed to vaccinating them in the future, maybe, but right now my husband and I are not comfortable with the data,” Michelle Goebel, an engineer and mother of three in Carlsbad, Calif., told NBC News.
“I need more numbers. I want to see any reported reactions as the numbers increase. I think I would like at least a year out from the trial data to follow up with those original participants to just make sure nothing popped up basically,” Goebel told NBC.
The most recent data from Pfizer’s trials show the vaccine for 5-11 year olds was nearly 91 percent effective against symptomatic illness.
Currently, the vaccine is authorized for those 12 and older.
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