Despite the recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that young children between the ages of six months and four years get vaccinated for COVID-19, only four to five percent of children in this age group have received the controversial mRNA COVID vaccines distributed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for administration to young children under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The COVID vaccine uptake rate for infants and young children is in stark contrast to that for older children between the ages of five to 11, which started at 18 percent a month after the shots were approved for that age group and is currently at 38 percent.1
According to Vaccine Monitor published by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), as of July 2022, only 17 percent of parents with children between the ages of six months and four years old have had their children receive COVID shots or have indicated they plan to give them “right away.” This number has slightly declined from KFF’s Vaccine Monitor survey conducted in April, which showed that 18 percent—or one in five parents—planned to vaccinate their young children “right away.”2 3
More than four in ten parents (43 percent) say that they will “definitely not” give COVID shots to children under age four, including babies as young as six months old.4 In April, only 27 percent of parents with children in that age group said that they would “definitely not” give the shots to their infants and children.5
Parents cited the following reasons for not getting their young children the mRNA COVID biologic: concerns about the vaccine being so new with little testing and research (19 percent); potential side effects (14 percent); safety (13 percent) and not worried about COVID/doesn’t need it (11 percent).6 Seven in ten parents admitted that they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned that the COVID shots are not effective in preventing infections and their child would get sick, regardless of being vaccinated.7
When surveyed, parents of all ethnicities and political parties expressed concerns over the new COVID vaccine. A White, Independent politically leaning father in Wisconsin said the vaccine, “Has not been around long enough for adequate research,” while a Black Democrat leaning mother in California said, “I think it’s still too new and I’m worried about any long-term side effects.”
A White Democrat mother in Maine admitted, “I don’t really trust the FDA. The Pfizer vaccine efficacy is so low, it makes me wonder about everything” and an Hispanic Republican mother in Iowa said, “We haven’t followed ‘guidelines’ for safety and are just fine, have no case of COVID, and continue our daily lives, and have not ever been affected. The vaccine does not prevent COVID.”8
According to Marty Makary, MD, a surgeon and public policy researcher at Johns Hopkins University, the sweeping vaccine recommendations by the CDC were based on extremely weak and inconclusive data by the vaccine manufacturers.
Parents are not falling for it. After nearly a month of the government heavily pushing vaccines for kids under 5, only 3% have chosen to get their kids under 5 vaccinated. More parents believe in UFOs, I think.9
COVID Vaccination Rates Vary by State
Parents have been hesitant to vaccinate young children, even in California, a state that mandates all CDC-recommended childhood vaccines for school attendance with few exceptions10 and plans to mandate the COVID vaccination for all school children by 2023.11 As of Aug. 2, 2022, only 6.4 percent of the 2.2 million children aged five and younger in California have been vaccinated. Fifty-three percent of parents in California believe the COVID shots are more of a risk to their young child’s health than contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.12
In New Jersey, 4.5 percent of young children have received at least one does of COVID vaccine; in Arkansas 1.8 percent have gotten one dose,;4.3 percent have been vaccinated in Kansas; 8.8 percent have had the shot in Washington state; whereas in Massachusetts, 11 percent have had one dose.13 14 15 Florida did not preorder any COVID shots for children under five, but the state allows doctors to order the shots through a state-run portal.16
States with the lowest vaccine uptake rate are ordering fewer doses than other states, which reportedly concerns health officials. A CDC spokesman concluded that the low vaccine uptake was due to the shots being rolled out over two holiday weekends.17
Since parents are hesitant to give their young children COVID vaccine, the CDC has taken to encouraging doctors to vaccinate more children, especially doctors enrolled in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. VFC is a federal program that gives free shots to children without health insurance, those on Medicaid, and American Indians and Alaskan natives. As many as three-quarters of VCF providers plan to administer COVID shots to their youngest patients.18
Parents Were Hesitant Vaccinate Their Young Children Before the Shots Were Approved
Another nationwide study by the University of Iowa showed that less than half of the 2,031 parents surveyed intended to give their very young children COVID shots. The parents answered an online questionnaire in February about their intention to vaccinate their young children once the COVID shots received approval from the FDA. Some 47.3 percent of the parents said they wanted to wait at least three months after the COVID shots were approved for infants and young children, while 45.6 percent said that they would “definitely” or “probably” give their child the shot. About 30.5 percent of the parents wanted more information about the safety of the COVID shots, while 28.3 percent wanted more information on effectiveness.19
Despite the lukewarm reception of parents to the CDC’s recommendation to give COVID vaccine to very young children, public health officials were eager to announce the approval of the vaccine for infants and young children in June.
Jack Resneck, MD and president of the American Medical Association (AMA), said,
To unanimously recommend use of both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months of age is a vital step in protecting many more children from COVID-19. Many parents across the U.S. have anxiously awaited a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for their children—having foregone normal daily activities for the past several years to protect their youngest children from the virus. Parents will breathe a sigh of relief knowing these vaccines will very soon be available.20
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said:
A vaccine for children under five would mean we would have vaccines available for essentially all age groups in America. This would be a major milestone. I’m hopeful that we may be one step closer to having an added layer of protection for our younger children, and one less worry for their parents.21
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Click here to view References:
1 Hopkins J, Kamp J. Most Parents Are Saying No to Covid-19 Vaccines for Toddlers. The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2022.
2 Lopes L, Hamel L, Sparks G et al. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: July 2022. Kaiser Family Foundation July. 26, 2022.
3 Sparks G, Lopes L, Montero A et al. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: April 2022. Kaiser Family Foundation May 4, 2022.
4 Lopes L, Hamel L, Sparks G et al. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: July 2022. Kaiser Family Foundation July 26, 2022.
5 Sparks G, Lopes L, Montero A et al. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: April 2022. Kaiser Family Foundation May 4, 2022.
6 Lopes L, Hamel L, Sparks G et al. KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: July 2022. Kaiser Family Foundation July 26, 2022.
9 Mandel B. Perspective: Why have so few children been vaccinated for COVID-19?. Desert News July 21, 2022.
10 California Department of Education. Immunization Requirements.
11 Beam A. California delays coronavirus vaccine mandate for schools. CNBC Apr. 15, 2022.
12 Woolfolk J. Lukewarm interest in COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 5. Daily Democrat Aug. 8, 2022.
13 Hopkins J, Kamp J. Most Parents Are Saying No to Covid-19 Vaccines for Toddlers. The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2022.
14 Tidd J. Only 4.4% of youngest Kansas children vaccinated against COVID: ‘It’s certainly sad. It’s tragic’ The Topeka Capital-Journal Aug. 12, 2022.
15 Browing P. Covid vaccine rates among young children remain low in Washington state. Kuow Aug. 5, 2022.
16 Mahr K, Garnder L. Low demand for young kids’ Covid vaccines is alarming doctors. Politico July 14, 2022.
19 Beusekon M. Less than half of US parents plan to vaccinate young kids against COVID. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Aug. 4, 2022.
20 Berg S. Why parents should get kids under 5 vaccinated against COVID-19. AMA June 22, 2022.
21 Hopkins J, Kamp J. Most Parents Are Saying No to Covid-19 Vaccines for Toddlers. The Wall Street Journal Aug. 8, 2022.