Very few parents of young children are vaccinating their kids.
Under 4% of kids under 2 years old have received the COVID vaccine and only slightly over 6% of kids aged 2 to 4 years have been vaccinated for COVID.
This is far less than the 30% of children aged between 5 and 11 that are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccinations for the youngest population in the United States are off to a slow start, thanks to fewer opportunities to receive the shots and hesitancy or a lack of interest among parents to vaccinate their infants and toddlers.
Over two months since the Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 vaccine doses for children ages 6 months through 4 years old, just under 4% of infants under 2 years old and a little over 6% of children 2 to 4 years old have received the first dose. In total, roughly 1 million children under 5 years old have received the first dose. Meanwhile, 30%, or over 8 million, of children between 5 and 11 years old are fully vaccinated, with vaccination rates increasing with each age group, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
“I think some people are just waiting to see more vaccination of that age group before they decide to vaccinate their child just to make sure that it is safe,” said Dr. Sandra Bonat, a pediatric physician adviser at VIP StarNetwork. “Parents think that because COVID has not been super severe in kids, it’s a relatively mild illness for children, for the most part, they don’t even need to do it. They’re just sort of hesitant to do something that they don’t particularly think is necessary.”
A survey taken in July found that 53% of parents view the COVID vaccine as a bigger risk to their child than COVID.
Adding to the reluctance of some parents to vaccinate their young children, a slight majority (53%) of parents of the youngest children view the vaccine as a bigger risk to their child’s health than getting infected with COVID-19. The share saying the vaccine is a bigger risk rises to 73% among Republican and Republican-leaning parents, 71% among parents who are unvaccinated themselves, and 67% among parents whose child has previously tested positive for COVID-19.
The survey also found that 43% of parents say they will never vaccinate their kids — while only 17% of parents had gotten their child vaccinated at the time of the survey or planned on getting their child vaccinated.